MNsure call center will answer health plan questions

Health Exchange work group
Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman, left, chairman of the Exchange task force, and MNsure director April Todd-Malmlov are pictured at a task force meetomg Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 in St. Paul, Minn. A call center will be open later this summer to provide information to consumers about health plans, enrollment choices and procedures regarding Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace.
MPR Photo/Elizabeth Stawicki

A call center will be open later this summer to provide information to consumers about health plans, enrollment choices and procedures regarding MNsure, Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace.

MNsure's executive director April Todd-Malmlov says Minnesota looked at the best practices of other states to develop the call center. If a phone staffer called can't answer a consumer's question, the staffer will conduct a "warm transfer" to someone who can.

"It's essentially while you're on the line with the person, know what that name is of that call-center person on the other line and say for example, 'Linda, I'm going to transfer you to Sally who will be able to answer your question in more detail," Todd-Malmlov said.

The goal aim is to provide a single initial contact for consumers, whether the question is about government or private coverage, and to help consumers find answers to their questions in an average of about two minutes, Todd-Malmlov said. She said the center will be bilingual with language translation services.

"MNsure will have a 1-800 number that everyone can go to. One common front door," Todd-Malmlov said. "Not a different place for public programs or private or any of those questions; one common front door."

The call center will open Sept. 3 -- a month before marketplace goes live -- and will operate 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Through the open enrollment period the call center will operate the same hours on weekends.

More than a million Minnesotans are expected to use MNsure to enroll in health coverage.

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