Minnesotans Unsure About MNSure

Posted at: 05/07/2013 9:41 PM
Updated at: 05/07/2013 10:14 PM
By: Travis Dill

MNSure, the upcoming state health insurance exchange, is a mystery to many residents, but officials held an informational meeting in Duluth on Tuesday.

MNSure officials called the program an online health insurance marketplace, and even compared it to the shopping website Amazon. They said it will help Minnesota residents compare insurance plans, but locals do not know much about it.

Ken Calligher of Duluth said he's looking forward to the program, but wants details.

“So I'm real hopeful, I just don't understand it,” Calligher said.

He said that's because all the talk surrounding the exchange political.

“But nothing about the substance of what's in the plan, and what it means to people like me and my wife and many other people,” Calligher said.

During the meeting a MNSure officials said the marketplace will help about 1 million Minnesotans shop for health insurance.

The big draw is to compare prices and benefits at one website. Individuals and families can use it, and small businesses could save money with the marketplace according to UMD Economics Professor Jennifer Schultz. 

“The administrative costs will hopefully be reduced and they'll have more options to choose from, and the risks will be spread out across the larger number of employees in the exchange. So hopefully they'll see lower premiums and more benefits that are covered than they currently have,” Schultz said.

MNSure hopes to be user friendly, but officials will have to get the message out before the website launches in October. Health insurance purchased through the exchange will go into effect in January.