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Robocallers, Website Crashes Send MNsure Into A Rocky Tuesday Launch

A number of the roughly 250,000 Minnesotans that will need to buy health insurance voiced frustration over the technical difficulties they experienced.

Insurance shoppers enrolling in plans through MNsure and HealthPartners at times faced tied up phone lines and error messages on the websites of both organizations on Tuesday.
 
Phone lines at the MNsure call center were jammed after becoming the target of robocallers, state officials said. Governor Dayton told reporters the seven-minute wait time people were experiencing at 9 a.m. slowed to 19 minutes when automated calls flooded in. Eventually, the state’s IT department located the culprit and wait times improved.
 
State IT officials said it was investigating the situation and would “update with further information as it becomes available,” the Star Tribune reports.
 
Then, just before noon, individuals enrolling online were hit with a similar dilemma. Servers crashed on not only the MNsure website, but nearly 70 other state websites, according to the state’s IT department. 
 
In less than an hour, the MNsure site was back online, which allowed the completion of 4,155 enrollment applications as of 3 p.m., according to MNsure spokewoman Marie Harmon. She added that 17,000 applications had been started as of 3 p.m.
 
The number of health insurers offering plans on state and federal exchanges has been dropping nationwide as insurance carriers have struggled to make the business profitable. In Minnesota, the number of insurance companies offering plans will drop from five this year to four in 2017.
 
The ASPE, which is the agency of record on health insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, said in a report last week it expected health plan enrollment to reach 11.4 million Americans in 2017.
 
When the ASPE compared each states's "benchmark plan"—defined as the second-lowest cost silver-level plan available to a 27-year-old individual—the average monthly premium for Minnesota's plan was expected to jump 59 percent from 2016 to 2017.