|By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Still grappling with consumer fallout and political pressure over last year's troubled rollout, MNsure officials said changes are being made to the system that will allow more time for testing and that sufficient backup plans are in development if things go wrong.
MNsure is preparing for the "worst case, if that comes about," interim Chief Operating Officer
The fixes will allow consumers to automatically renew last year's coverage or make changes after a "life event," such as having a child, moving or getting married.
Additional upgrades by other outside vendors will be added in the next two weeks, according to MNsure, allowing system testing to begin in early September.
"We learned a lot last year," said
"The foundation is solid, the infrastructure is stable," Baden said, "It's secure. It's performing as designed. The blueprint is still solid."
As part of a new restructuring of vendor contracts, MN.IT has now been given authority to oversee all IT efforts related to MNsure. That function originally was assigned to Maximus, a
After months of dealing with a hobbled system, the state took over the role of directing subcontractors in
Contracts with all four vendors expired
MNsure has set aside about
Even as the overhaul of the existing system moves ahead, problems continue to dog consumers trying to use the website, to the dissatisfaction of several board members.
Thousands of Minnesotans continue to experience long wait times at the call center, and many simply abandon their efforts.
"We keep running into different versions of the same problem: They aren't getting help and they are frustrated," said Dr.
"It's our public face," she said. "And that message goes farther than our wonderful positive messages."
About 3,800 people are still being manually moved through the system because of a change in insurance, such as losing a job or a change in marital status, said Kooistra. That number is down from about 4,500, and all cases are expected to be resolved in four to six weeks.
"People are working night and day to get through these buckets, as we call them, and they are making headway," he said.
More than 289,445 Minnesotans have used the MNsure system as a gateway to insurance. That figure includes 53,491 people who have purchased private health coverage. More than 80 percent of Minnesotans enrolled through MNsure to date qualify for government-subsidized health programs, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.
MNsure has hired
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