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Watchdog review focusing on whether MNsure is doing enough to verify incomes

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At the behest of the Minnesota Legislative Auditor, a team of state auditors are checking to find out whether MNsure is doing enough to make sure applicants placed on Minnesota Care or Medical Assistance have incomes that qualify them for the programs.

Legislative Auditor James Nobles tells KSTP it is the legal responsibility of the state's online health insurance marketplace to make sure only qualified, low-income people are placed on the taxpayer-supported programs.

"I have a team of auditors down there at MNsure right now to audit and assess what is going on," Nobles said. The legislative auditor, which serves as the state's internal government watchdog, added that the independent review seeks to find out if people with assets to pay for private health insurance are being placed on public programs.

"It is an ongoing problem that MNsure was supposed to fix but right now it looks like they do not have the computer system they need to do electronic verification of income," Nobles added.

Earlier this month the bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission gave Nobles the green light to perform a comprehensive audit of MNsure. Nobles' office already has two limited examinations of MNsure underway, including a federally required review of how MNsure spent more than $150 million in federal grants.

A MNsure spokesperson told MPR News the exchange "welcomes" the review and is prepared to comply with any request the legislative auditor makes.

MNsure has suffered from problems including management and leadership issues, user delays and software failures. Ultimately the exchange led to more than 181,000 Minnesotans enrolling in health coverage by the deadline.

MNsure must be financially self-sustaining in 2015.

Nobles said he hopes to have his audit completed by August.

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