Since open enrollment in the state's individual market began on
Shoppers have been scrambling because of enrollment caps that regulators granted most insurers as an emergency measure to help them prevent further financial losses.
The state launched MNsure three years ago as part of the federal Affordable Care Act, and the big enrollment numbers come despite questions about the future of the health law given electoral triumphs by
"We have heard from assisters just anecdotally across the state that consumers are canceling their appointments because there is so much uncertainty out there right now about the Affordable Care Act," said
The MNsure exchange is an option for the roughly 250,000 state residents who buy health insurance on their own. The market serves about 5 percent of state residents and has experienced troubles that aren't being seen in the much-larger markets for employer-sponsored health plans and government programs like
With 23,883 people signing up via MNsure for private coverage as of
About 38 percent of shoppers this year are in the age 55-to-64 bracket, up from about 33 percent last year. The numbers could suggest a lack of young and healthy enrollees in the market, but O'Toole said it's too early to draw conclusions.
O'Toole said that MNsure was able to quickly remove
"We were prepared for this, and things from an operational standpoint when very smoothly," she said.
MNsure didn't provide numbers on exactly how many Minnesotans have canceled appointments due to concerns over the health law, and O'Toole stressed that
Federal officials have described a postelection effect that went in the other direction, with a surge of people buying coverage on the federal government's HealthCare.gov website, which serves as the exchange for most states.
For the first time on Wednesday, MNsure released market share numbers for the four health insurers selling through the exchange for 2017.
The Blue Plus share is up slightly from last year.
Thus far during open enrollment, more than 60 percent of those who have signed up for private plans via MNsure are new to the exchange, O'Toole said. That's a higher share, she said, than at healthcare.gov.
MNsure is the only place for Minnesotans to tap federal tax credits.
So, it was expected that more state residents would use the exchange in hopes of offsetting 2017 premium spikes in the individual market.
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