By Pat Kessler

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One day after the open enrollment period officially ended, leaders of Minnesota’s health exchange are claiming success.

MNsure CEO Scott Leits says it signed up 169,261 people for insurance, exceeding its goals.

The latest numbers include: 47,046 on private plans, 34,219 on MinnCare and 87,896 on Medicaid.

“It is absolutely a success,” said Leitz, who took over the troubled exchange after a disastrous website rollout. “I think it is fair to say that MNsure has turned a corner and has turned around.”

MNsure got off to a disastrous start last fall, when thousands of people could not get on the website or waited for hours to get help. Now, MNsure says all those problems are fixed, and Minnesotans are in a lineup to sign up.

But some predict the troubles are not over.

“People have gone through a lot of pain for them to be taking a victory lap at this point,” GOP State Senator Michelle Benson, of Ham Lake, said.

Benson says there are too many signups for public plans and too few are young people, who keep the MNsure financially stable.

Turned the corner? Benson says it depends.

“I think we are better than we were in December, and sometimes when you stop banging your head against the wall, the pain goes away,” she said.

Even with the high sign up number, MNsure says it expects thousands more. Because of high volume, 36,000 people were unable to finish their applications on the MNsure website. Leitz said those enrollees will get an extension.

“If you have done everything that you needed to do, and you couldn’t get into coverage through no fault of your own, we’re going to make sure that if you want to get into that coverage,” he said

MNsure says the next open enrollment period begins in November, for coverage beginning Jan. 1.


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