Wrong Tax Credit Information Results in Redos of MNsure Applications

Published On: 20th December 2013

From the internet

Approximately MNsure customers have been informed to start over on their applications and as soon as possible so they can acquire the federal tax credits that will lower their health insurance costs in 2014.

The consumers were first told that they wouldn’t get tax credits because there were issues with the MNsure system that were identified and disclosed to consumers in November.

MNsure was launched this fall to put the Affordable Care Act in force in Minnesota.

The scope of the tax credit issue became clearer on December 16 when users reported being continually frustrated by the MNsure website and call center as they rushed to finalize their coverage details before the December 23 deadline. The website wasn’t available for people that day to fill out applications.

In the meantime, officials confirmed that the MNsure call center callers who were put on hold were automatically disconnected after being on hold for an hour. One caller reported being disconnected four times after being on hold for an hour.

A spokesman for MNsure stated that a state standard for call centers operated by the state resulted in the dropped calls. He stated that MNsure was working to have the threshold adjusted.

Minnesota is just one of 14 states that opted to launch its own health exchange website on October 1 so the Affordable Care Act could be implemented in the state. The law requires that almost every American have health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty via their taxes.

Although the MNsure website has had a number of glitches in its first weeks, users were able to look at health plan options and, after long and multiple attempts, were able to create website accounts to determine if they were eligible for financial aid.

While not completely perfect, the front-end of the site’s performance seemed superior to the website that was created by the federal government, which handles the exchange for the 36 states that did not put their own in place.

In late November, the issues with MNsure came into focus as the system struggled to close the deal for individuals wishing to sign up for their health insurance.

Close to 30,000 applications had to be run again to make sure people were properly offered insurance to where they could receive the federal tax credits to discount their premiums or receive their coverage through a public program.

Early in December, health insurance companies in Minnesota were concerned that people may not have their coverage in place before January 1 because the exchange was struggling to send completed information to companies about those who enrolled. All of a sudden, the number of calls to the call center increased and the wait times ballooned. The daily average wait stretched to nearly 55 minutes by December 18.

The do-overs that were announced on December 16 when it was discovered that 1,000 individuals who filled out their applications before December 1 were told that they wouldn’t receive tax credits. The issue has been rectified and the amount that was calculated should be correct.

The mistake may have resulted in some applicants choosing a different plan because of the cost. Redoing their applications will ensure that they obtain the plan that they want.

In the meantime, there are still issues with MNsure sending information to insurance companies about enrollees.

One consumer from North St. Paul said that she has been struggling since October 1 to get coverage through MNsure and it is not known exactly how many individuals may be affected in the same way.