MNsure launches despite looming shutdown

After years of preparation, MNsure will open on Tuesday.

Alexa Billadeau

The state’s new health insurance exchange — an online marketplace where Minnesotans can compare premium rates and sign up for health plans — is set to launch Tuesday afternoon.

The exchange, MNsure, will use the morning to connect its system to a “federal hub” and is scheduled to open later in the day.

MNsure Board Chairman Brian Beutner said he expects heavy web traffic during the exchange’s opening hours but said there’s no rush to buy plans.

“There is plenty of time for individuals to consider what works best for them and their families,” he said.

The MNsure call center opened Sept. 3 to prepare potential health care insurance customers and answer their questions.

Beutner said shoppers will have more individualized questions once they can actually access the site and see more accurate rate estimates.

MNsure staff has developed a system for answering likely questions in the exchange’s first days, he said.

Coverage under plans purchased on the exchange will start Jan. 1.

“I’m sure there will be a plan available that will meet everybody’s needs,” he said.

State lawmakers agreed last session they’d rather create a health care system exclusive to the state than use the federal standard plan under the Affordable Care Act.