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Since the Affordable Care Act’s first open-enrollment period began on Oct. 1, 2013, approximately 3 million people have purchased private health insurance coverage through state-based and federally facilitated exchanges known as the Health Insurance Marketplace, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 24, 2014.1
In this new series, we will check in with each state. We provide the latest available open enrollment numbers, exchange details and any recent news.
Minnesota’s state-based exchange, MNsure, is first on our list. Of Minnesotans eligible for marketplace coverage, 8.7 percent have enrolled, according to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation chart “Marketplace Enrollment as a Share of the Marketplace Eligible Population.”2 That places the state at 15th in terms of percentage of eligible residents enrolled in exchange-based health insurance coverage.
Exchange type: State-based
Medicaid expansion: Yes
Enrollment update: 67,805 Minnesotans enrolled in health insurance plans through MNsure, between Oct. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013, according to preliminary data released by MNsure on Jan. 3, 2014.3
The breakdown in enrollment types is as follows:
MNsure reported that 113,443 online accounts had been created, as of Jan. 1, 2014.
The Huffington Post on Jan. 27, 2014, released an analysis of insurance company market share and enrollment in a few state marketplaces. “These Health Insurance Companies are Winning at Obamacare,” examined how competition among insurers encourages lower prices and more benefits, and showed that companies with the biggest market share in 2011 are now “leading enrollments via the state’s exchanges.”
With regards to Minnesota, the article reported that, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which controlled 63 percent of the market in 2011, is second in exchange sign-ups with 24 percent of 27,800 enrollments through MNSure as of Jan. 18, trailing the 58 percent commanded by PreferredOne Health Insurance” and provided the following infographic4:
Minnesota’s exchange includes plans from six health insurance carriers. Visit health.state.mn.us/mnsurenetworks and mnsure.org to learn more.
In related news: As with the federal exchange and other state exchanges, MNsure’s technical glitches have made headlines and reportedly frustrated consumers. The latest, published at MinnPost.com on Feb. 3, 2014, focused on call-center wait times, which have ranged from an hour to 90 minutes around key enrollment deadlines. “The answers are complicated, but they boil down to continued technology problems with the exchange’s website and issues of adequate staffing, training and money,” the article stated before getting in-depth with the issues and providing consumer tips—click here to read more.
In a Jan. 3, 2014, MNsure press release, exchange officials claimed to be working on eliminating technology glitches and offered encouraging words about improved enrollment at the end of 2013.5 MNsure’s interim Chief Executive Officer Scott Leitz saod, “This uptick in enrollments is an encouraging sign. Even amid all the challenges of the last few weeks, many thousands of Minnesotans are taking action to benefit from lower insurance premiums and better coverage terms. Our job in the weeks ahead will be to make it easier for more people to do the same.”
1 Tavenner, Marilyn. "Milestone: 3 Million in Marketplaces," HHS.gov/HealthCare (blog), January 24, 2014.
2 The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, "Marketplace Enrollment as a Share of the Marketplace Eligible Population."
4Young, Jeffrey. "These Health Insurance Companies are Winning at Obamacare." Huffington Post, January 27, 2014.
5Bowring-McDonough, Jenni. "MNsure Announces Year-End Enrollment Totals," MNsure.org, January 3, 2014.
Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.