MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare, and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only program that offers financial help in the form of monthly tax credits to lower the cost of your monthly health insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. The open enrollment period for 2020 private health and dental coverage ends Monday, December 23. The MNsure website lists extended hours for their contact center to assist customers during the final days of the 2020 enrollment period: December 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; December 22, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and December 23, 8 a.m. to midnight.
In MNsure’s own words, choosing the right health insurance plan can be complicated! Plans and prices change every year. So, here are a few things to know as we get closer to the open enrollment deadline. Contact information and useful links are provided at the end of this article.
To be eligible to enroll in the MNsure program, you must meet certain requirements based on income, residency, citizenship/immigration, and incarceration status. Much of the information regarding these requirements is available on the MNsure website, but a call to the MNsure contact center or working through a free MNsure assister is sometimes the easiest route to navigate your way through first-time enrollment, or if you are having difficulty making changes to your 2020 coverage.
According to MNsure’s email communications, everyone who enrolls in a private plan during open enrollment will have coverage that starts January 1, 2020.
This article and the contact information pertains only to the MNsure program. If you qualify for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare (government-sponsored health insurance programs), your health coverage is managed through the Department of Human Services.
Shopping for a MNsure plan online
You can shop the available 2020 private health and dental plans under the “Shop and Compare” tab on the MNsure website home page. The online comparison tool is easy to use and allows you to compare options and get an estimate of costs and financial help that may be available to you and your family.
You can compare plans by healthcare provider, premium, co-pay, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, covered prescriptions and more. All plans cover pre-existing conditions.
If you do not have Internet access, experience difficulties using the MNsure website or simply cannot find answers to your questions, call the MNsure contact center.
Free help available from MNsure-certified assisters
MNsure has a statewide network of assisters who can help you apply and enroll, free of charge. You can find an assister under the “Get Help” tab on the MNsure website home page, or can get the name of an assister by calling the MNsure contact center.
New enrollment dashboard not available to all users
MNsure launched their new enrollment dashboard with much fanfare this enrollment season. They promised a more user-friendly online experience as you shop for, enroll in and manage your 2020 plan. The new enrollment dashboard (available through your account’s Home page) claims to provide you with one-stop access to enrollment and eligibility information, plan shopping, guidance on next steps, an enrollment countdown feature, and a private inbox.
This sounded like a massive improvement to the online user experience formerly offered through the MNsure website, so I was pretty excited to take it out for a spin. Until, that is, I spent an entire weekend trying to gain access to my own dashboard, only to learn from a MNsure specialist that this much touted tool is not in fact available to all MNsure users.
If you originally applied for MNsure using a paper application, you cannot access the enrollment dashboard. Following receipt of both calls and online feedback from this writer, MNsure has now added some references on their website to this frustrating limitation.
Bottom line, if you are one of the “paper applicants” and need to make changes to your healthcare program this enrollment period (including reporting status changes such as projected income, address, etc.), you need to call the contact center.
What you need to know about the MNsure contact
It is useful to understand that when you phone the MNsure contact center, your first-point-of-contact is most likely not going to be the person that can assist you with reporting changes or handling enrollment. I have learned from speaking with a MNSure manager that MNsure engage a contractor that fills these positions. The operators have been trained to the extent that they can answer only the most basic of questions and they act in a “triage” role according to my source. You will be asked questions to confirm your identity, to explain why you are calling, before (in all probability) being transferred to a MNsure specialist.
I have found the specialists to be very professional, patient, and knowledgeable, but it can be both frustrating and time-consuming reaching an individual that is actually able to provide assistance. I would encourage users to give feedback on your experience if MNsure sends you an online survey following your call. Or send feedback via the email address listed below.
Questions, feedback and enrollment help
- Contact center: 651-539-2099 (855-366-7873 outside the Twin Cities)
- Website: mnsure.org
- Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org (use this email to report concerns, website issues and provide feedback on interactions with MNsure operators)
- MNsure E-News: Scroll down to the bottom of the MNsure website to sign up for useful email updates and reminders
- Media contact: Marie.Harmon@state.mn.us
The information in this article is sourced from MNsure E-News, the MNsure website, communications from State Rep. Fue Lee, and MNsure staff.