GOP Calls Problems 'Unacceptable'By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s health exchange is acknowledging glitches on its sign-up website, assuring frustrated consumers they’ll be covered by insurance by Jan. 1 if they send in payment by next Monday.

MNsure’s website glitches are keeping some consumers from completing the application process. It’s the latest in a series of rollout problems for MNsure, the state’s health care exchange.

Now, MNsure is guaranteeing Minnesotans they’ll be covered Jan. 1 as long as they’ve paid their premiums — even if they don’t get an official notice.

“I’m here to tell consumers that if you paid your bill, or if you pay your bill by December 23rd, you will be covered on Jan. 1,” said John Reich, a top MNsure official.

An unspecified number of Minnesotans are still having problems logging on and signing up.

Officials with direct knowledge of the site say one of the IT problems includes software in the IBM Curam program designed to evaluate if applicants are eligible for coverage.

Political critics called it “unacceptable.”

“Who is in charge and what’s the plan?” MN State Senator David Hann, the GOP Minority Leader, said.

Hann joined House GOP Minority Leader Kurt Daudt next to a sign that read “unsure About MNsure”, calling on Governor Mark Dayton to act, predicting thousands of Minnesotans won’t get insurance cards in time to get medical care January 1st.

“Signing up for something doesn’t guarantee that you’re insured,” said Hann. “They talk about ‘Oh, we’ve got people signed up on the website.’ And our point is: so what?”

MNsure says it’s working to identify and fix multiple problems on the website, but just in case it’s not fast enough, they’ll expand enrollment methods to get as many as possible in the tent.

“For those individuals, we’re reaching out to them,” said MNsure’s Reich. “We’re working on different paths for enrollment for them so they can get continuing coverage by Jan. 1.”

Republican leaders want Gov. Mark Dayton to act, but the governor’s powers are limited. MNsure is independent of the governor and the legislature.

Matt Swenson, a spokesman for the Governor, called it all “empty rhetoric.”

“No one has ever gotten health care via press conference, so it is unsurprising that today’s round of GOP rhetoric was so unproductive,” Swenson said in written statement.

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