MNsure: Expect smoother experience on website in final weeks of open enrollment

CEO Scott Leitz
MNsure Chairman Brian Beutner, left, listens as interim CEO Scott Leitz speaks during a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, in Minneapolis. Leitz took over Wednesday after the resignation of April Todd-Malmlov. She faced criticism over complications with insurance sign-ups under the federal health care law.
Glen Stubbe/The Star Tribune via AP

MNsure officials are encouraging Minnesotans to use the insurance exchange's website to select and purchase health coverage in the remaining weeks of open enrollment. Most Minnesotans have until March 31st to buy coverage or pay a penalty.

Officials have learned lessons from this last fall's problems, which prevented some Minnesotans from buying coverage through the website, said MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz. He said consumers should notice a smoother experience from creating accounts to contacting the call center for help.

"We've extensively added staff to the call center. Wait times now are running around less than a minute so we're ready and able to take calls that come in and answer them very quickly," Leitz said.

In addition, MNsure will have over 650 places set up throughout Minnesota this month where people can sign up in person with so-called navigators -- people who can help consumers one on one enroll in coverage, he said.

Last fall, the MNsure website technically buckled under the onslaught of traffic to meet the December 31st deadline. It's expected that people will visit the website in numbers as large or larger as they attempt to avoid the federal health care law's financial penalty.

"It's stable and it is in much better shape than it was in the fall and it's the best place for people to go," Leitz said.

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