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MNsure supporters seeing some improvement

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MNsure rolled out commercials with real people talking about how the state-run health insurance marketplace helped them.

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And a key MNsure supporter promoted a study showing that Minnesota policies are less expensive than in other states.

It is a campaign to draw attention to successes and away from months of bad news, news such as computer problems, impossibly long waits for help and a system that never told some people if their attempts to get coverage succeeded.

State Rep. Tom Huntley, D-Duluth, issued a news release promoting a Kaiser Health News Service report that indicated five of the 10 least expensive health insurance markets in America are in Minnesota.

The cheapest mid-range plan cost about $259 a month in many regional insurance markets, Huntley said, but those in the Twin Cities market could buy plans at $159.

Similar plans in the St. Cloud area go for $166, in northwestern Minnesota for $171 and west-central and north-central counties for $180.

Huntley said that an average 40-year-old in the Twin Cities will pay $154 a month for a mid-range plan, while a similar Wisconsin plan would cost three times more.

While Minnesota opted to establish its own health insurance marketplace, Wisconsin is using one run by the federal government.

“This study just proves that Minnesota is making the right decisions when it comes to providing access to quality health care,” Huntley said.

While Huntley praised MNsure, the agency announced that more than 100,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in insurance through it.

Minnesotans have until March 31 to sign up during open enrollment. For the rest of the year, people may sign up if they have a qualifying event such as losing a job. Otherwise, open enrollment will return in the fall.

Of the 100,000, two-thirds are in government-subsidized programs, with MNsure their only option to get coverage. Just 31,000 Minnesotans have signed up for private plans.

MNsure’s new round of commercials touts successes that have not been heard among the problems. One features a women with a brain tumor who says she obtained affordable insurance via MNsure.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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