(KMSP) - Individuals still looking to buy health insurance have until midnight on Wednesday to buy a health plan on the MNsure exchange. So far, a record number of Minnesotans are signing up.
MNsure is taking in 4,000 phone calls a day now, ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. Overall, enrollments are up after there were a lot of questions about whether congress would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
That initial uncertainty has kept MNsure phone agents such Carolyn Dungan busy, as a record number of Minnesotans have already locked in health coverage for 2018.
But MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole says time is running out.
“In Minnesota, open enrollment goes for another month. So, it goes through January 14, but [Wednesday] is our really critical day,” she said.
So far, 104,000 Minnesotans have bought coverage on the exchange, with 20,000 signing as new customers
Minnesotans can compare coverage and buy a policy online at MNsure.org, and if they have questions, agents will take calls up until midnight.
“We are taking about 4,000 calls a day right now, and if a consumer needs a little extra help and doesn’t want to wait on the phone, we have a callback function. People are taking advantage of that this year, and that is really good. Let us call you back and we’ll answer all of your questions,” O’Toole
The deadline comes as U.S. House of Representatives pass a new tax bill that ends the federal requirement to buy health insurance and the tax penalty that came with it. While that creates uncertainty about the future sustainability and affordability of exchanges such as MNsure, it will have no effect on coverage for next year.
“Nothing changes, this vote today or tomorrow, nothing changes for 2018 coverage. MNsure is still here, the tax credits are still available and that is making a real difference for Minnesota families; they are averaging about $7,000 a year. That is still in place and open and ready to help Minnesotans,” she said.
Those credits do vary depending upon where you live across the state, but in order to receive those credits for coverages starting Jan. 1, you have to sign up by midnight on Wednesday.