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Report: MNsure’s online system flawed, needs work

ST. PAUL — MNsure’s online system for managing people’s health coverage needs a lot of work before November, when the next wave of people trying to buy coverage through the health exchange begins.

Only 26 of 73 areas of functionality reviewed were working as expected, a consultant’s report for the MNsure board of directors says. The report from Deloitte was to be presented Wednesday at a MNsure board meeting in St. Paul; background materials were made available in advance.

Of the remaining 47 components, the report identifies the three most critical absent pieces:

* The system can’t acknowledge changes in enrollee circumstances.

* People in the Medicaid and MinnesotaCare public insurance programs can’t renew coverage through MNsure.

* People who’ve bought commercial insurance can’t renew their policies through the system, either.

“The MNsure system must now add critical new functionality to process renewal of the existing enrollment base,” Deloitte says in the background materials. “The additional demands on the MNsure system will increase risk and compound the remediation efforts that are underway.”

Minnesota launched the MNsure health exchange last year to implement the federal Affordable Care Act, which requires that almost all Americans have coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Problems with the MNsure system frustrated thousands of consumers trying to obtain coverage late last year, resulting in hourlong waits for people calling the health exchange for help. MNsure boosted staffing and made improvements to its system, but it remains far from perfect.

Last week, state officials said they are delaying the transition of 800,000 people currently enrolled in Medicaid and MinnesotaCare into the new system until MNsure can implement fixes.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.