The state’s marketplace for individual health insurance closed its annual open enrollment period Monday with 117,520 policy signups.

While that’s 2,525 more signups than through a similar time period last year; it’s about 10,000 fewer than MNsure’s 2019 individual market enrollments reported in March.

MNsure eliminated its extended open enrollment period this year — in the past it ran through mid-January — but customers can still sign up for plans if they have a qualifying event. The change brought Minnesota more closely in line with the federal sign up period.

Nate Clark, MNsure CEO, characterized the numbers as strong, despite national uncertainty about the underlying Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. He added that the marketplace’s website, call center and other tools worked well.

“It’s clear that Minnesotans see the value of comprehensive coverage and rely on the consumer protections and financial benefits offered only through MNsure,” Clark said.

He noted that 53% of enrollees qualified for tax breaks, worth $5,244 on average. MNsure is the only place customers can qualify for tax credits.

This was the seventh open enrollment season for the state insurance marketplace. Early years were plagued with technical difficulties and big rate hikes.

Another 58,417 people used the MNsure system to signup for publicly funded insurance systems. Those include programs like Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, the state health care system for the working poor.

Health care is certain to again be a top topic of debate for Minnesota lawmakers when they return to the Capitol in February for the 2020 legislative session.

This year’s budget deal included continuing a GOP-favored reinsurance plan that helps insurers afford the claims of their sickest customers. Democrats have pushed to expand MinnesotaCare eligibility to more residents saying it would provide a more affordable “public option.”