MNsure Board Chair: 'Improvements will take months, not days'

MNSURE: 'Improvements will take months, not days'

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Tim Blotz | Fox 9 News Tim Blotz | Fox 9 News
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A legislative committee held a meeting Thursday to address enrollment and website issues that have plagued MNsure, Minnesota's new health insurance marketplace, nearly since its inception.


Overflow phone banks at the MNsure office are taking about 3,500 calls a day with about an hour wait time on average. Operator Bryan Quirk said he and his colleagues spend about 20 minutes to 1.5 hours helping people enroll for health coverage. Call center manager Carol Kehner said 12 more operators will start training on Jan. 20 to allow higher call volumes in March as the enrollment deadline looms.

Interim CEO Scott Leitz warned the committee that there will be budgetary impacts from bringing on more call center workers.

MNsure Board Chair Brian Beutner said it is not his intention to come back to the Minnesota Legislature asking for more money to pay for budget overruns.


Beutner told the committee that the exchange has serious problems, and that "improvements will take months, not days."

The nature of the calls coming in are complicated and taking a long time for operators to process, Leitz said.

Optum, a branch of UnitedHealth Group, has been brought on to address software, call center and vendor operations -- their review to be returned by next week, Leitz said.


Senator Tony Lourey (DFL) criticized MNsure, saying poor software creates a "snowball effect" as operators fail to ameliorate glitches faster than consumers can report them.

Leitz said only 6 of the 21 issues with IBM have been resolved thus far, and it will take IBM 4 to 6 weeks to test about 8 particular IT fixes that are expected to help improve the health exchange. 

On a positive note, about 98 percent of enrollees are now able to get through the eligibility section of the website, Leitz mentioned.

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