MNsure's struggles on day 1: A Twitter story

Here's how things have gone for MNsure on day one of open enrollment.
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Thousands of Minnesotans logged on to MNsure's website Tuesday to get the jump on signing up for health insurance through the state's market place.

And what followed for many was disappointment and frustration.

Nov. 1 is the first day people can buy an individual health plan through MNsure (or through an insurance company directly) if they can't get coverage through work – that's about 250,000 total Minnesotans.

MNsure's site opened for buyers at 6 a.m. By late morning, Gov. Mark Dayton said about 17,000 people had started an application, while about 2,100 had completed applications.

But the experience for a lot of them was plagued by error messages and long wait times to the call center. Here's a tweet from 6:35 a.m.

Which is the same thing a few more people experienced.

As more users pointed out, the call center to get help didn't open until 8 a.m., leaving the early-risers stuck without an answer.

When it did open, a lot of people faced busy signals and long wait times.

However, Dayton said it wasn't a problem with the system – instead, he said someone was "trying to jam the call center, and making robo calls to try to snafu the thing, which is deplorable."

The average wait time at 9 a.m. was about 19 minutes because of those robo calls, he said. A couple hours later, after they identified the source and blocked it from the call center, the average wait time was down to 7 minutes.

"We're doing our best to make it work as well as possible, and unfortunately there are some people out there who want it to work as badly as possible, and we're having to contend with that," Dayton said.

Because of the "historically high call volume," MNsure announced Tuesday afternoon the call center will stay open until 7 p.m. (an hour later than planned), and that anyone who is on hold at that time will get to talk to someone Tuesday night.

As for the MNsure website, officials say it was one of many state sites affected by a widespread outage Tuesday. The cause isn't known.

Still, some people had success.

That's not much consolation to people who are still without answers. And tired.

What about the tax credits?

There's been a lot of talk recently about the 123,000 or so Minnesotans who need an individual health plan, but don't qualify for tax credits to keep the rising costs down. Dayton and Rep. Kurt Daudt said Tuesday they had a good meeting, and are hoping to draft legislation they could pass in a special session to provide help.

That would have to come after Election Day.

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