MNsure to cut budget by $2.5 million over three years

MNsure CEO  Scott Leitz
MNsure CEO Scott Leitz, Nov. 17, 2014 at their offices in downtown St. Paul, Minn.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News 2014

The MNsure board Thursday approved a three-year financial plan that cuts spending by more than $2.5 million over three years.

MNsure officials said the cuts were made necessary by lower than expected enrollment in private health plans. MNsure receives some of its funding from a percentage of premium payments made by people who enroll in private health plans through the state's online insurance marketplace.

The new budget projects a nearly $3.2 million reduction in revenue tied to private plan enrollment through fiscal year 2017. Last fall, MNsure projected 100,000 private-plan enrollments in 2015. Agency officials later revised that number to 67,000 and on Thursday said MNsure remains short of that goal. It had enrolled 61,109 people in private plans as of March 8.

MNsure CEO Scott Leitz told the board the reduced spending should leave MNsure's budget balanced but with a lower surplus.

"The bottom line is it's a budget refinement and it brings the budget in line with our spending and we just consider it to be smart budgeting," Leitz said.

Board member Tom Forsythe said most of the cuts will come from administrative expenses. Another $700,000 will come from the agency's budget for navigator services, money paid to non-profit organizations that help people sign up for insurance. But Forsythe said the agency has been budgeting more money for navigators than it needed to spend.

MNsure will not have to cut jobs, Leitz said, but some open positions will remain unfilled.