The Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a report this week on the problematic rollout of MNsure. The report provides the legislature with insight into the first year of MNsure’s operations. The most important component of the OLA report is the auditor’s recommendations on how MNsure can successfully move forward. These recommendations provide the legislature confidence that S.F. 139, a MNsure reform bill, is on the right track. Three of the four main recommendations in the report are the primary components of the legislation, which will bring much-needed transparency and oversight to MNsure.
Although there were a number of technical difficulties identified in the Auditor’s report, It is important to not equate technological problems and leadership issues with the overall merits of our state-based health care exchange. This report gives the legislature greater clarity on what issues we need to focus on, and a path to resolution. Minnesota’s health insurance reforms have resulted in 180,000 individuals, previously uninsured, finding health care coverage. The good news is, Minnesota’s uninsurance rate is the lowest in state history. These are important accomplishments that should not be overshadowed by problems the legislature is working to correct.
Summary of MNsure’s Response
In a letter dated February 9, 2015, MNsure Chief Executive Officer Scott Leitz said that MNsure “has been instrumental in the enrollment of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans in comprehensive, affordable health coverage.” He said MNsure “has made dramatic improvements to the consumer experience” over the first two enrollment periods and will continue to make necessary adjustments. In an attachment to Mr. Leitz’s letter, MNsure said it “strongly disagrees” with the OLA conclusion that MNsure’s failures in its first year outweighed its achievements, citing declines in the state’s number of uninsured people and $30 million in tax credits Minnesotans have received for plans sold through MNsure.