ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — MNsure fell short of its target for signups in its second round of open enrollment, the health insurance exchange announced Wednesday — another setback for the beleaguered agency that officials insist will only result in minor cuts to its budget.
The exchange signed up about 60,000 Minnesota residents in commercial coverage, 7,000 short of a more modest goal it set when MNsure slashed its target for those signups by a third late last year.
Those plans are critical to MNsure’s budget because the exchange skims a fee from them to fund its operations.
CEO Scott Leitz noted the exit of the marketplace’s largest insurer last year, PreferredOne, was a major setback for MNsure as it entered its second year.
Lackluster enrollment in private plans since MNsure launched in 2013 has forced the state to pick up more of the tab for the exchange. Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed an additional $11.7 million in state money for the exchange, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, because public plan enrollments have far outpaced commercial coverage signups.
In a statement, Leitz said the shortfall was manageable.
“A modest adjustment, if any at all, may be needed to balance the fiscal year 2015 MNsure budget,” he said.
Republicans piled on criticism Wednesday on the heels of a wide-ranging audit that concluded MNsure’s failures outweighed its successes in its first year.
“The news for MNsure is bad and just keeps getting worse,” said Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood. “It’s financially unsustainable. It’s missed every benchmark it has put out.”
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