3 reasons Minnesota's exchange failed

Minnesota's health insurance exchange, which still suffers from functionality and technical problems, could take up to two years to fix. As states consider moving to a state-based marketplace, MNsure's failure can offer lessons on what not to do.

Several missteps contributed to the exchange flop, Kaiser Health News reported, including:

1. It didn't focus on technology

The state's exchange task force didn't fully consider the technological details of building an insurance marketplace. Moreover, the insurance industry didn't get a seat on MNsure's board and therefore couldn't question the site's IT infrastructure, the article noted.

"One of the challenges is the [MNsure] leadership viewed this from a health policy standpoint and not from an IT technology implementation standpoint, and I think that drove a lot of the challenges along the way," Dannette Coleman, a task force member and Medica health plan's chief of individual and family business, told KHN.

2. It didn't do sufficient testing

MNsure officials didn't conduct consumer tests the prior to the Oct. 1 launch and therefore did not discover that the site locked consumers out of their applications and didn't run well on certain web browsers.

Testing "is one of those things that's so foundational, it doesn't even deserve a 'Why?'" IT consultant Michael Krigsman told KHN.

3. It was stingy with data

The marketplace also suffered from poor and inadequate information sharing, KHN noted. MNsure gave the board limited details about progress and the wrong information to the state Department of Human Services about a "fixed" glitch.

What's more, MNsure ignored insurers' pleas for information about 834 files. These files have had chronic problems, including files never reaching insurers, duplicate transmissions, "orphaned" members who say they enrolled but never received confirmation, and files containing errors about who signed up and what plans they picked, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Similarly, a lot has gone wrong for Maryland's exchange. The problems have prompted the Office of Inspector General to investigate how the state spent millions of federal dollars on a faulty marketplace.

For more:
- read the KHN article

Read more on