ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Fourteen people who managed the troubled MNsure online health insurance exchange were collectively paid bonuses of more than $26,000 just after its launch, state officials said.
Software problems have plagued the website, which overwhelmed an MNsure call center in St. Paul after the exchange went online Oct. 1.
In a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton this week, Republican Rep. Joe Hoppe, of Chaska, raised the issue of the bonuses after a report on executive salaries was done for legislators.
“Given the chaos that was rampant within MNsure, this is reminiscent of the worst excesses of Wall Street,” wrote Hoppe, a member of a bipartisan MNsure oversight committee.
The exchange’s former director, April Todd-Malmlov, approved the bonuses, said MNsure spokesman John Schadl, which were made for work done before the launch.
“Performance incentives were issued to 14 managers based on performance between July 1 (and) Sept. 30, 2013,” Schadl wrote in a statement. “No performance incentives for the fourth quarter have been or will be issued.”
Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson says the governor was not aware the bonuses were awarded.
Minnesota set up the exchange to implement the federal Affordable Care Act. An independent review released last week said the website’s problems cannot be completely fixed in time for the March 31 deadline for all Americans to have coverage under the new federal law. People who don’t have insurance coverage by the deadline face federal tax penalties.
MNsure released findings of the review by UnitedHealth Group division Optum. It described a deeply flawed website that wouldn’t meet enrollment expectations without manual workarounds and other improvised fixes.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)