The Corner

Obamacare in Minnesota: Some Good News, a Whole Lot of Bad

MNsure, Minnesota’s state-run Obamacare exchange, has both good news and bad news.

The good news is that the total number of people who have selected a plan and a payment method is up to 24,600, more than double the 11,000 that were trying to pay early in November. Beyond that, it’s all downhill.

That figure is roughly a third of the 71,000 people who have applied for insurance thus far. Moreover, only about 4,400 of those people are purchasing private plans – the remainder are enrolling in Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, a separate public program.

People enrolling may not actually get their plans, because MNsure is having problems sending enrollment information to insurers. Some of the electronic files contain errors, such as incorrect addresse, so the exchange and the insurers are now cross-checking information and entering it manually.

Customers who don’t have accurate information won’t get an invoice, and therefore won’t have an insurance policy.

Furthermore, MNsure’s web portal last month gave several consumers inaccurate information when determining if they were eligible for government health plans and under-calculated subsidies for private insurance. To address the problem, MNsure is double-checking up to 40,000 applications and will notify applicants with their eligibility status.

And the risk pool looks awful: 49 percent of those enrolling in private-sector plans are aged 50 and up, and an additional 15 percent of enrollees lie in the 41–50 range. Enrollees need to be much younger on average for the exchanges to function properly.

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