Don’t opt out of MNsure

In the information war surrounding the health care law, students should educate themselves.

MNsure, Minnesota’s online health care marketplace, launched Tuesday.

Like 15 other state-created exchanges, MNsure feeds into a federal insurance marketplace, and together they make up a key component of the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare.

A boon to students, these exchanges allow the uninsured to compare and shop for coverage. MNsure will also boast the lowest premium rates in the nation, according to research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

More than 900,000 Minnesotans are expected to use the exchange in its first year, the Star Tribune reported Wednesday. Coverage for plans purchased on MNsure will begin Jan. 1.

The health care exchanges that went live Tuesday are the first of their kind. In order to be successful, a wide variety of users need to enroll.

In the lead-up to the marketplace launch, several groups have emerged, reaching out to college students and encouraging them to “#OptOut” of the exchanges. One ad by the Koch brothers-funded organization Generation Opportunity shows Uncle Sam preparing to perform a pap smear with the tagline “don’t let government play doctor.”

The GOP has also echoed these calls to avoid the exchanges. Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, told the Minnesota Daily on Tuesday that since many students are already healthy, costs of coverage through MNsure outweigh the benefits.

These groups and many politicians claim they want to save students money and protect their private information. However, most of them seek to defund the federal marketplace by keeping younger, healthier people away.

Amid the information war surrounding the health care law, uninsured students should take time to weigh their options on MNsure and get themselves covered. There’s no rush to buy, either; penalties don’t kick in until March 31.