MNsure working to reduce help center wait times

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Callers to the help center for the state's new online insurance marketplace are waiting on hold for an average nine minutes, longer than originally projected, MNsure officials said today.

This summer, MNsure officials said callers to wait about two minutes and no more than five. But anyone who has tried the call center recently likely heard a recorded message about high call volume, followed by a bland instrumental track from soprano sax player Kenny G.

MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov said MNsure is making changes to the website in hopes of easing call volumes.

"Many of the callers are calling in with some password reset questions," she said. "So we are changing some language on the website that would help reduce some of those questions."

MNsure officials said 20 percent of the calls came from the 218 area code in northern Minnesota, where Todd-Malmlov said the spike in interest is related to outreach efforts in that area of the state.

Todd-Malmlov said MNsure expects higher call volumes in November and December as the federal mandate requiring the uninsured to purchase insurance by Jan. 1 grows closer.