by Dennis Dalman
The open-enrollment period to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act began Nov. 15 and will end Feb. 15.
So far, business on Minnesota’s ACA website has been described as “successful” and “going very well” by MNsure CEO Scott Leitz. He also said the computer glitches and call-waiting times have been dramatically improved from the last enrollment period that began in 2013.
The ACA (sometimes dubbed ObamaCare) requires all people to have medical insurance. The plan also provides financial assistance to eligible people to help them pay their monthly premiums.
In Minnesota, the website marketplace for the ACA is mnsure.org.
That website is a one-stop-shop where a potential customer is led, step by step, through the enrollment process. The health plans on the site can be compared side by side so people can choose a plan that fits their needs.
Nationwide, during last year’s first open-enrollment period, about eight million people signed up for various insurance plans. In Minnesota, sign-ups have been so successful the state is now second only to Massachusetts in the number of people who now have health insurance. Massachusetts had a head-start on other states because that is where, under then Gov. Mitt Romney, a health plan was implemented several years ago, a plan on which the ACA was based.
After the ACA was enacted, Minnesota’s uninsured rate dropped by 40 percent, the lowest level in state history. More than 90 percent of Minnesotans now have access of one kind or another to health care. The number of uninsured people in the state dropped from 18 percent before the ACA to 13.4 percent. Many of the insured have coverage because of other provisions of the ACA, such as children under 26 being able to stay on their parents’ health plans and more people being eligible for Medicaid.
The MNsure website is designed for individuals, families and small businesses.
People may also call the customer contact center to get the name and number of a local assistant who can help them fill out their applications and answer any questions about the ACA. The toll-free number is 1-855-3-MNSURE.