|By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Since open enrollment ended in March, some 6,000 Minnesotans have contacted MNsure because of events such as a new baby or change in marital status. But systems are still not in place to quickly handle their insurance needs.
Officials at MNsure, the state's online insurance exchange, said the issue is one of several "high priorities," and that the agency is in discussions this week with
"We do understand the importance of this issue, and it's critical for us to make the processes as simple as we can for people," MNsure CEO
Leitz said MNsure's focus to date has been on fixing systemic problems to get people through open enrollment.
Last week, the state released a report that the number of uninsured has dipped to a record low 5 percent, despite MNsure's well-documented technical problems with lead vendor
Much of the sign-up effort relied on paperwork and manual workarounds, which remains a problem in addressing the current "qualifying life events" under the Affordable Care Act.
To that end,
Hiring Optum in a new role could be handled out of the existing MNsure budget, Leitz said, though no contract has been drawn up. The earlier report was done at no cost to taxpayers.
MNsure has hired Deloitte on a nine-month, nearly
It took six weeks of back-and-forth with few answers before Moran got a call from MNsure last Friday offering assurance that he would have retroactive coverage to
"I'm starting to get bills. Do I need this kind of stress? No," said Moran, 59, who said he and his wife got hit with three medical events in May. "Should this MNsure process go beyond June, I'm out of alternatives."
Handling life event changes have proved to be a complicated process in some cases, particularly when a family-size changes, because it can affect federal poverty guidelines and access to public health insurance programs or tax credits.
MNsure said it is prioritizing cases when a person needs to be added to coverage, such as with the birth or adoption of a child or loss of job. Out of more than 700 of those elevated cases, about half have been resolved, MNsure said.