Opinion on MNsure, health insurance law follows party lines

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The split over the value and future of the new federal health law and Minnesota's online insurance exchange follows party affiliation, according to the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The newspaper's poll found that half of those surveyed anticipate their health care situation will be the same or better under the new law, but 46 percent believe their situation will worsen. Nearly nine in 10 Republicans said they expect their situation to get worse, while 84 percent of Democrats expect it to be the same or better.

Respondents were also evenly split along party lines on whether to keep MNsure or start over and build a new online exchange. 40 percent of respondents favored keeping MNsure – 40 percent want to scrap it and start over.

Gov. Mark Dayton's support for the Affordable Care Act is expected to come up as he runs for a second term. It's expected that Republicans will use MNsure’s difficulties, delays and rocky start as a campaign issue.

MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz told the newspaper that he wasn't surprised by the poll. This spring, Leitz and the MNsure board of directors will consider the long-term fate of the system. MNsure’s leaders have said all options are on the table, but scrapping and starting over is “a more drastic option,” and not the starting point of the evaluation, Leitz said.

The Minnesota Poll tracked February interviews with 800 adults, and has an error rate of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Forum News Service  reported that payment for MNsure customers has now been streamlined. Customers no longer will be sent an invoice issued by MNsure for the first month’s premium. MNsure officials said that led some customers to believe that MNsure would continue to send such bills. While MNsure provides a way to buy health insurance, policies are sold by private companies that bill customers. The new MNsure system lets customers pay online the first month, or receive bills from the insurance company right from the start.

Last week, MNsure announced an enrollment landmark, with the news that more than 100,000 people have used the website to buy insurance coverage.

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