Mostly smooth sailing on first weekend of MNsure's 2015 open enrollment

Updated at 11:30 a.m.

MNsure officials say the first weekend of open enrollment for 2015 went smoothly.

Officials at MNsure — the state's online insurance website — said there was no major trouble on the first two days of the health care exchange's new open enrollment period.

Related: 4 tips for choosing health care

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

"There's general system stability and that's great news," said MNsure spokesman Joe Campbell. "In the first day, we had 294 people in quality affordable health coverage, and that's great news."

Campbell said the online system has been stable — and callers to MNsure's telephone contact center only had to wait a minute or two to be connected.

Nearly 300 people purchased plans as of late Saturday, Campbell said.

Based on what customers told call center operators, Campbell said there was no widespread trouble.

"We gather information from all our callers about why they're calling and the vast majority of people are calling for one of three reasons. The first is that they forgot their password. The second is they're asking how do I enroll? And the third is that they're having browser issues."

On those questions, Deanna Wyman of White Bear Lake had a trifecta.

Deanna Wyman
Deanna Wyman said her hunt for health insurance on the MNsure website over the weekend was less than ideal. The real estate agent lives in White Bear Lake.
Matt Sepic / MPR News

MPR News has been following Wyman's MNsure odyssey since September. She's a real estate agent on the hook for her own insurance.

When she aged out of her parents' health plan on her 26th birthday in July, Wyman bought a plan from PreferredOne with the help of a MNsure navigator. Two months ago — the day after she got her insurance cards — Wyman found out her plan would not be offered through MNsure for 2015.

So as soon as the online exchange opened, Wyman started shopping.

She said the web page wouldn't load on her iPad so she tried her computer's browser, which was even slower. She was relieved to finally get to the login page, but her frustrations were only beginning.

"I tried to sign in and I had my password written down. And I put in the password and it didn't work," she said. "It locked me out of my account."

Wyman said she waited a day, and called customer service yesterday morning.

"I was able to get a hold of someone at their contact center after waiting on hold for 15 minutes, and she reset my password no questions asked, other than what my name was, which was a little scary," Wyman added.

Wyman logged in and tried to shop for a plan, but found the website limited her browser's window to a small rectangle a fraction the size of her screen. So she logged out, picked a plan anonymously using her entire screen, logged back in and tried to buy it.

"And I got through the digital signature, and it said 'cannot connect to server.' I was like, 'OK, that was probably just a weird one-time thing. Seven times later, I called them to maybe see if I could have someone on their end select the plan for me. And they told me that they couldn't do that."

The call center operator told Wyman to contact a navigator — something she says she doesn't want to do again.

Asked about the problems Wyman had this weekend, Campbell, the MNsure spokesman, said they do not represent the typical user experience.

"What we're seeing is that people are able to get through the system cleanly," he said. "If they call our contact center they wait an average of two minutes, and the vast majority of the questions are things that our contact center staff can handle."

Wyman says with four hours spent online and on the phone and nothing to show for it, she's done with MNsure.

Since she doesn't qualify for subsidies, she's says she'll bypass the state exchange entirely, and go directly to the insurance company.

The exchange's enrollment figures for the entire weekend are due out today.