Minnesota Cuts Obamacare Enrollment Projection, Again

Sarah Hurtubise | Reporter

Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange has cut its projection for its Obamacare exchange for the second time in months. 

MNsure, the state-run exchange, lowered its estimate for next year’s enrollment to 95,000 private customers, according to Minnesota’s Pioneer Press. That’s down from its November projection of 107,000 — which was already markedly smaller than the exchange’s original estimate of 297,000 total enrollees by 2016. 

So far, they’ve signed up 61,109 people. The exchange lowered its enrollment projections for 2015 in December to 67,000 customers, down from 100,000. Like the federal Obamacare exchanges and most states, Minnesota has reopened its Obamacare enrollment from Mar. 1 to Apr. 30 for customers that are surprised that they owe Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty during tax season. (RELATED: Minnesota Obamacare Slashes Sign-Up Expectations By A Third)

The Minnesota health exchange, one of just a handful of state-run exchanges, has faced technology hangups for years and is still facing financial problems. A failure to meet past enrollment goals isn’t helping, either. By cutting the enrollment goal by 12,000 paying customers, the exchange will take in $1.2 million less next year.

In Minnesota, like many other states, the exchange is trying to fund its ongoing operations by a fee placed on the health insurance plans it sells. Customers pay 3.5 percent extra on top of their insurance premium each month.

MNsure’s budget will be $3.1 million lower than it was in January and the board cut its spending on other expenses Thursday. They’ll spend $700,000 less on “navigators” for the Obamacare exchange. Board member Thomas Forsythe said that they’d been “overbudgeting on that line and underspending.”

Nationwide, Obamacare enrollment has grown significantly in 2015 but hasn’t met the Congressional Budget Office’s projections yet. The CBO predicted that the exchanges will cover 12 million people this year (after lowering an original 12 million projection) and the Obama administration says 11.7 million have signed up, beating its 9.1 to 9.9 million goal. (RELATED: HealthCare.gov Fails To Grow Share Of Latinos, Young Adults In Second Year) 

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