MNsure signup deadline is Monday for Jan. 1 coverage

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Minnesotans who want to sign up for health insurance through MNsure are facing a Monday deadline to enroll, for coverage that starts on Jan. 1.

MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance exchange program, extended the deadline recently to give people more time to enroll; the original deadline was Dec. 15.

The deadline doesn’t have any effect on people who are eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare; enrollment for those programs takes place year round.

The annual open enrollment period ends on January 31, 2016. When your coverage begins depends on when you complete your enrollment.

The table below shows when your qualified health plan (QHP) from a private insurance company would go into effect.

MNsure is preparing to handle thousands of phone calls to help customers go through the enrollment process. Its customer service phone line (1-855-366-7873) will be staffed from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on Monday.

Last year, on the last day of December enrollment, the contact center answered an average of 1,600 phone calls every hour.

More about MNsure

This is the third year of operation for the state-run health insurance exchange, created under 2012’s Affordable Care Act.

If you don’t have a job that offers health insurance (and you’re older than 26 and can’t stay on your parents’ plan), you can go to the MNsure website and look through several different health insurance options.

The premiums are, on average, higher this year than last. But MNsure officials are touting tax credits, which you automatically can qualify for based on income and plan cost, as a big way the cost will be kept down.

Those tax credits are only available when purchasing plans through MNsure.

New this year is an added incentive to sign up: If you don’t have health insurance coverage, you’re facing a fine. In 2016, it’ll be either 2.5 percent of certain taxable income, or a flat $695 – whichever one is greater.

There are some people who aren’t legally required to have health insurance. Though there are very few exemptions.

For a more complete rundown of how MNsure works, check out these five tips and explanations.

According to MNsure, as of May 2014, 95 percent of Minnesotans have health coverage—the highest percentage in state history.

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