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MNsure Signups Grow From Oct. To Nov., But Glitches Continue

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Almost 25,000 Minnesotans are now signed up for health insurance through Minnesota’s new health exchange. Those are the latest enrollment numbers from MNsure, but Tom McMaster isn’t among them.

The 61-year-old retired railroad worker spent hours again Wednesday trying to sign up he and his wife — just like he has for the last 5 weeks.

“See, this is just not working at all,” he said, as we watched him try to sign up for health care on MNsure’s website.

McMaster’s application disappears just as he’s about to complete it. Plus, when he calls the MNsure help line, he is put on hold for longer periods of time or gets conflicting advice.

“It’s really frustrating,” McMaster, who lives in Eagan, said. “I want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem here, and it’s like I can’t do it.”

MNsure acknowledges sporadic glitches online, but said it generally corrects them quickly in a day or two.

“We’re not aware of any major technical issues with regard to submitting an online application at this time,” a MNsure representative said.

At a MNsure board meeting Wednesday, as it does at every meeting, the health exchange highlighted “good news” stories of consumers like John Grobe, who says he got an online policy in 20 minutes.

“It’s driving me nuts that everyone says this is a loser program,” said Grobe, of Minnetonka. “That it doesn’t work. And I’m here to say it does.”

McMaster’s status is ironic: He supports health care for all. In fact, he doesn’t think the new Affordable Care Act goes far enough.

“We are the only industrialized country on the planet that does not have health care for its citizens,” he said.

Now, frustration as the MNsure website will only accept his wife’s application, but not his.

“We have two weeks to try to sign up and be covered by the first of January. And so far, I’m no further than I was two months ago,” McCaster said.

MNsure says it cannot discuss specific cases like the McMaster’s because of data privacy. It does say there’s a problem with the call center, and they’ve added 40 more people to ease the crunch.

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