MNsure officials are encouraging Minnesotans to use the insurance exchange's website to select and purchase health coverage in the remaining weeks of open enrollment. Most Minnesotans have until March 31st to buy coverage or pay a penalty.
The rush to meet the March 31 deadline is expected to rival if not surpass MNsure's crush of web traffic from last December as procrastinators rush to not only sign up for coverage but also avoid the federal health care law's financial penalty.
The two-year prime vendor contract requires the winning bidder to ensure MNsure meets deadlines, stays within budget, and meets quality benchmarks.
Under the federal health care law, most Americans who don't obtain insurance by March 31 will face a financial penalty, but that's not all.
State Health Economist Stefan Gildemeister was encouraged that a majority of uninsured Minnesotans knew they were required to obtain insurance in 2014.
Beginning Wednesday, the health insurance exchange will start running ads featuring Minnesotans who found less expensive coverage on MNsure.
Internal documents and interviews with insurance company officials, county workers and other stakeholders reveal a more complicated story of MNsure's problems than the explanations offered by management.
The MNsure Board approved spending up to $750,000 for the temporary workers. MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz told the agency's board members the cost could be covered within the existing MNsure budget.
Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth, performed a week-long analysis that found the project suffers from a lack of good management.
Company officials say offering part-time workers insurance could make many of them ineligible for federal subsidies that could reduce their cost of coverage.
Before MNsure, the state's new online health insurance marketplace, there was HealthMatch. "It was a complete failure," said longtime state Rep. Tom Huntley, a DFLer from Duluth. "We hired a company to manage it and set it up ... and nothing ever happened."
Scott Leitz goes before a Legislative Oversight Committee whose members include Republicans strongly opposed to MNsure's creation, against a background of frustrated consumers, an unhappy governor, and an increasingly critical legislative auditor.
MNsure's website has been a source of much consumer frustration as at least 2,000 users have been stuck in the process of applying for insurance online.
'Obamacare' expanded Medicaid and provided some people with premium discounts through the state's new online insurance marketplace, MNsure. As a result, community health centers expect to see a 12 to 15 percent rise in the number of patients this year.
Callers have overwhelmed the online insurance marketplace's contact center, which has a capacity of 300 calls at any one time. MNsure officials say the lines were busy right away when the center opened Tuesday morning.