MNsure misses private health plan signup target by 7,000, reports $250K shortfall

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MNsure has failed to hit its target for enrolling people in private health plans, and as a result is projecting a budget shortfall of up to $250,000.

A day after it was savaged in an audit report for its troubled first year, MNsure announced preliminary results that show 159,000 Minnesotans used it to sign up for insurance by Monday's enrollment deadline.

Just over 60,000 enrolled in private health plans, well short of the 67,000 target it set for itself in December, though it's an increase on the 47,000 who paid for private plans last year.

Despite not hitting the mark for private health plans, CEO Scott Leitz declared himself happy with the figures, even though it will require an adjustment to the health exchange's budget.

"A modest adjustment, if any at all, may be needed to balance the fiscal year 2015 MNsure budget," he said in a press release. "We're talking about a shortfall of less than $250,000, that is entirely manageable."

Leitz also said: "This year, we had more than 60,000 private plan enrollments in half the time including a surge of nearly 10 percent of the overall enrollment total happening in the final weekend,"

MNsure's issues with enrollment targets

This year's figures are not yet final, as the exchange is still open until Friday to private plan customers who were in the middle of applying when the deadline passed. People can sign up to public plans all-year round.

MNsure had initially projected it would hit 100,000 private health plan sign-ups in 2014-15, but cut this projection by a third in December.

In the report by Minnesota's legislative auditor released yesterday, MNsure was criticized for the enrollment targets it set itself in 2013-14.

Last year, the health exchange – created as Minnesota's answer to the Affordable Care Act – set a goal of 135,000 for its enrollment period, but the auditor said this projection was "seriously flawed" and should have been higher.

Withdrawal presented 'big challenge'

Leitz said the decision of PreferredOne to not offer plans this year presented a "big challenge" for the organization.

"Having the largest 2014 carrier pull out of MNsure at the last minute was a big challenge for us and, frankly, was something no other state in the country experienced," he said.

The biggest qualified health plan carrier this year is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, which attracted 43 percent of the 60,000 private plan customers.

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