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Extended again: To get health coverage for Jan. 1, you have until Dec. 31

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The deadline to sign up for health plans through MNsure has been extended again – to Dec. 31.

Anyone who wants to sign up for insurance through Minnesota's health exchange for coverage from Jan. 1 now have until noon on New Year's Eve, it was announced Friday.

The original deadline for open enrollment was last Monday, but this was then extended to tomorrow, Dec. 20, MPR reports.

In a press release, MNsure CEO Scott Leitz said the move came because many health insurance companies had extended their own enrollment deadlines for coverage from Jan. 1.

"In a continuing effort to minimize consumer confusion, there is now one deadline across the state of Minnesota for health insurance coverage beginning January 1.

"I appreciate the cooperation and flexibility of the health plans as we continue to transfer enrollment data to them. Working together provides Minnesotans with the most simplified process to obtain health coverage by January 1."

While there has not been a repeat of the major technical difficulties experienced last year during the launch of the health exchange, the Pioneer Press reports MNsure is still struggling to transfer the details of those signing up over to health insurance companies.

MNsure has also warned those looking to sign up by the end of the year that its website will be offline at certain periods of time between now and Dec. 31 as it undergoes planned maintenance.

The next scheduled maintenance will take place starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, and the website will be down until 6 a.m. on Monday.

So far, just under 53,000 people have enrolled in health insurance coverage since open enrollment began on November 14.

The creation of the state's online private health insurance finder, which offers affordable plans to qualifying low income residents, has contributed to record low levels of uninsured Minnesotans, with 135,000 extra citizens gaining health coverage in the last year.

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