MNsure is pretty popular so far – even with the worries about its future

There are concerns about the future of MNsure. That hasn't stopped people from signing up.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Affordable Care Act, which led to the creation of MNsure, might not exist in the near future.

And even if it does continue to exist, health insurance prices have spiked so high over the past few years, Minnesota Democrats and Republicans agree people need help covering the costs (though have simply argued about what to do rather than getting something done).

Despite all that, health plan enrollments through MNsure are at a record high through the first sign-up stage for 2016-17.

Where we're at

MNsure said Monday 54,585 Minnesotans had purchased private health insurance through the state-run exchange.

At about this same time last year, around 27,000 people had enrolled. And there are another 100,000 applications open/in progress on the site right now, MNsure CEO Allison O'Toole said in a news release. (Though that doesn't mean all of those people will ultimately sign up.)

During all of last year's open enrollment period (which stretches from November through January), a total of 85,390 people bought private qualified health plans. So the 2016-17 period is more than halfway to that mark.

The 54,585 figure also doesn't include the 14,020 people who are eligible for MinnesotaCare, or 43,327 eligible for Medical Assistance – health insurance programs for low-income Minnesotans that are at least partially publicly funded.

It is worth noting that if you don't have health insurance, you have to pay a fine – which is at least $695. That's certainly a motivation to think about signing up.

What about the higher costs?

A lot of the discussion around MNsure the past few months has been the higher costs. Premiums went up, a lot, for the most part – though MNsure has repeatedly reminded consumers that only through the exchange can you get tax credits to offset those rising costs.

And in fact the average tax credit right now is about triple what it was last year, MNsure said last month.

In Monday's update, the exchange noted about 61 percent of enrollees in private plans were eligible for tax credits.

As for those who have to pay a higher rate, but make too much money to qualify for tax credits? That's what last week's discussion between the governor and lawmakers was about. They wanted to use some of Minnesota's surplus to provide financial relief for those Minnesotans.

But instead of finding common ground for a special session to enact that relief, they bickered for 15 minutes and gave up. Though they could reach an agreement next month when the legislative session begins.

Anything else?

Just a quick thing: The open enrollment period goes until Jan. 31, 2017.

You've missed the deadline to buy health insurance that starts Jan. 1.

But buy by Jan. 15 and insurance kicks in Feb. 1. Buy by Jan. 31, and it starts March 1.

Next Up

Irv Cross

NFL Pro-Bowler, Twin Cities broadcaster Irv Cross dies at 81

Cross was a Pro Bowl cornerback, but his biggest impact was made after his career.

snow

Here's how much snow fell in Minnesota on Sunday

Some localized areas saw more than expected.

Lindsay Guentzel

For The Week: What's harder than making a meal plan? Sticking to it!

Lindsay Guentzel says you shouldn't give up on your meal planning routines.

snow, plow

Winter storm warnings issued as snow system shifts in Minnesota

The worst of the snow will now hit further north, affecting areas including St. Cloud and the I-94 corridor.

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

Related

MNsure enrollment closes: Here's how many people bought plans

Nearly two-thirds of people who bought insurance through MNsure got a tax credit.

MNsure's struggles on day 1: A Twitter story

Here's how things have gone for MNsure on day one of open enrollment.

Yep, health plans you buy on your own or through MNsure are more expensive

Earlier this month, we told you health plans you buy on your own or through MNsure might get a lot pricier. That is not longer a "might."

Watch: Trying to sign up through MNsure on day 1

What it was like for some people trying to sign up on MNsure during day 1.

Half the people who bought MNsure health plans are getting more money back

The average tax credit is about three times what it was last year, but premiums are a lot more expensive.

Will help be coming for 120K Minnesotans facing health insurance rate hikes?

Even the Department of Commerce said said there's an “urgent need” for reform.