MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota families are getting more time to sign up for health insurance.
MNsure had set a midnight deadline on Monday if you needed coverage starting on Jan. 1.
But Monday afternoon, the agency pushed that back to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The move gives Minnesotans more time to sign up for health care coverage. Bonnie and Don Olson hope the extension will give them time to work out a glitch with their application process.
“It’s anger, it’s frustration,” Don Olson said. “I don’t know, it’s just a lot of stress.”
The Olsons tried to sign up on Nov. 17, but they soon realized that there was a problem with an income-based tax credit called the “Advanced Premium Tax Credit,” or APTC.
While they qualify for this credit, they couldn’t get the amount during the application process. Last time they enrolled, the APTC covered half their monthly premium.
“And they can’t get it right. They’ve been through this,” he said.
On a fixed income, the Olsons can’t afford the nearly $1,100 premium to finish their enrollment. They say they’ve been told to pay the amount and finish the application process and the refund would come at a later date.
The Olsons say with no definite timeline for when the tax credit would be applied, it’s a risk they’re not willing to take.
“We’re left out in the cold and we’re being punished for their mistake,” Bonnie said. “And yeah, I’m really angry and hurt.”
And they’re not alone. MNsure reports at least five different system glitches are affecting anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred customers.
MNsure CEO Scott Leitz said they’re working to solve the tax credit issue.
“I think the key message though for those folks is that they will be made whole moving forward, and we certainly want to make sure that Minnesotans are maximizing what they can get from a tax credit,” Leitz said.
Even with the problems, this year’s enrollment is a vast improvement over last year’s troubled rollout.
And Monday, the health care exchange decided to extend the Jan. 1 coverage deadline by five days. Leitz says it’s not because of system problems, but to give people more time.
“This just ensures that the playing field is as level as possible for as long as possible,” Leitz said.
The Olsons are doubtful the extension will help, so they’re preparing for two months without insurance, as they hope for a resolution by the Feb. 15 deadline.
“Just have to hope that nothing goes wrong in the next two months,” Bonnie said.
Some customers dealing with these tax credit issues are choosing to pay the full premium and wait for the tax credit refund.
But with no definite timeline on when that money will be refunded, the Olsons can’t afford it.