Preparing for MNsure Health Coverage

Posted at: 09/19/2013 6:35 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- MNsure is the health exchange in Minnesota created to carry out president Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and while the ads featuring Paul Bunyan are well known, the plans themselves, and how to sign up aren't.

We spoke with a local woman who not only is ready to sign up, she shared her story with state leaders.

Julie Teslow is like many people across the state. A self-employed single mother, who had the choice of no health insurance or a costly private plan. MNsure will be a way for her to lower her monthly premiums.

"I’m paying more for health insurance than I’m paying for my home and escrow for my property taxes,” said Julie Teslow of Harmony.

For close to 20 years, Julie Teslow has paid more than $500 a month for insurance. She runs her own business has a child with a physically disability.

"Along with my husband with his illness, he died of pancreatic cancer, I understood insurance and knew the necessity of insurance,” said Teslow.

Which is why Julie is turning to MNsure to find a new insurance plan.

"If everything goes well with the enrollment process and everything coming out October 1st, I’ll really get a look at things and I may be going from $500 a month to zero,” said Teslow.

With the expanded enrollment, Julie hopes to become eligible for medical assistance. Olmsted County is expecting a flood of people just like Julie, about 5,000 more than they serve now.

"Our county board has been very strategic and planning about it, in that they purchased an electronic document management system that really helps us process things faster,” said Paul Fleissner, Olmsted County Director of Community Services.

Three and a half new staff members have also been hired to counter the rise in clients, but the county director of community services says time is ticking, and the state hasn't been able to fully train their employees on the new network.

"We may have to take some paper applications until we're fully certified and we can get people into the system so I think there's going to be some bumps on October 1st,” said Fleissner.

While many have questions about the new MNsure website, Julie thinks once the kinks are worked out, it's for the better.

"I’m going to be able to have a life instead of being insurance poor," said Teslow.

Currently the only way to get your questions about MNsure answered are through a phone bank, but come October 1st there will be in-person assistors across the state who are trained to help get people signed up.

You will have about two and a half months to do so. December 15th is the cut-off if you want coverage at the start of the new year.