Website Problems Plague Last-Minute MNsure Sign-ups

Created: 03/31/2014 10:59 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- With just a few hours left until the 11:59 p.m. deadline to enroll in MNsure, many were scrambling to get it done before they get fined.

It hasn't been the easiest road for those trying to get insurance through the MNsure website since October. Some waited until the last minute, while others went an entirely different route.

It's now a race against the clock to comply with the federal health law.

"I tried before I went to work this morning, I tried on break, every time I try to log in it's a really slow process,” said Heidi Morris of Rochester.

Health insurance navigators in Rochester have been working nonstop. "More than steady, we have a waiting list so we're trying to serve everyone,” said health insurance navigator Denise Robertson.

The amount of traffic the MNsure site has been getting Monday made the process more difficult. "The computer system is getting overloaded so we are able to do paper applications for people,” said Robertson.

"Honestly, I feel bad for everybody scrambling,” said Justin Hawley of Rochester. Those like Justin Hawley, who are unsatisfied with the MNsure website, decided to go a completely different way with their health insurance. "We pay a check to somebody every month, somebody that has a health care issue,” he said.

Hawley is talking about a Christian-based organization called Samaritan Ministries. It satisfies the requirements for Obamacare, but members do their own leg work, like sending medical bills to the ministry and paying the hospital directly.

"Even though it's not officially insurance, the basic needs are met in a similar way,” said Hawley.

But for those still uninsured, the deadline is looming to avoid a tax penalty of $95 or 1% of your annual income in the first year. MNsure officials say they know there's been website problems. So if you've tried to enroll, but haven't been able to, filling out an "open enrollment attempt form" on the website could grant you an extension.

"It's a little less stressful, less pressure knowing that if it doesn't fully go through by midnight that I can void the penalty,” said Morris.

If you still need to sign up, MNsure navigators will be at the RCTC Heinz Center until midnight. An important note though, if you're a low-income Minnesotan or over the age of 65, tonight's deadline does not apply to you. The next open enrollment period will not be until November 15th this fall.

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