Delay initially slows Minnesota health exchangeThe various versions of the so-called health insurance exchange were scheduled to launch this morning in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Technical problems have delayed efforts by Minnesotans to sign up for the long-awaited online health insurance marketplace that is part of the Affordable Care Act, but MNsure officials said they expect people will be able to access the system later today.
The various versions of the so-called health insurance exchange were scheduled to launch this morning in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although MNsure wasn’t able to open this morning, both its website and its phone lines were up. A call to the phone line — (855) 366-7873 — was answered this morning after 11 minutes on hold. The website opened readily.
Although the insurance plans don’t begin until Jan. 1, and enrollment doesn’t end until March 31, individuals can begin as soon as the marketplaces open. But if they want the guidance of trained helpers — known as “navigators” — they may have to wait a bit longer.
None of the navigators in the Duluth area is certified as of yet, said Jenny Peterson, executive director of Generations Health Care Initiatives, a Duluth nonprofit devoted to increasing access to health insurance. Navigators will be in place at Community Action Duluth, the Health Access Office of the Lake Superior Community Health Center, the Duluth Public Library, the Salvation Army and CHUM, Peterson said.
The best way to learn when and where navigators are available is to call 211, the United Way information and referral center, Peterson said.
Wisconsin residents should use the federal website at healthcare.gov. The phone number is (800) 318-2596. The health-insurance marketplace isn’t affected by the partial federal government shutdown.
In the Superior area, residents also can contact the health care access office in the Superior branch of the Lake Superior Community Health Center at (715) 392-1955.