Report Finds Half of Minnesota’s Obamacare Enrollees Were Ineligible for Program

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Posted by Sarah Feldpausch on Wednesday, February 10th, 2016, 5:10 PM PERMALINK

A recent auditor’s report examining Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange, known as MNsure, found the system was enrolling more than a hundred thousand Minnesotans who were ineligible for the program.

The report estimated as many as 132,140 individuals were not eligible for the program they had enrolled in and up to 107,870 individuals were not eligible for ANY program. The audit also estimated that there was an error rate of close to 50 percent, and the state may have overpaid up to $271 million over the five-month period that was analyzed by auditors.

The Office of the Legislative Auditor of Minnesota found that The Department of Human Services:

  • Failed to verify that people who enrolled in public health care programs through MNsure were eligible for those programs which prompted the department to overpay for healthcare benefits. The effective cost was nearly $11,000 just in January through May of 2015.


  • Failed to provide the county human service eligibility workers with sufficient training on MNsure. This generated incompetent workers likely to make errors in determining the enrollee eligibility status for public health programs.


  • Failed to resolve discrepancies with social security numbers, citizenship or immigration status, or household income that MNsure identified for further verification within the correct amount of time. This dramatically slowed enrollee application processes and furthered the risk of fraud


  • Paid Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare benefits for enrollees whose incomes exceeded federal and state program limits. A sample portion of enrollees concluded almost 27% exceeded the income thresholds for the program in which they were enrolled. This resulted in an overpayment of $94,409 by the Department of Human Services.


  • Improperly used federal funds to pay for health care costs for MinnesotaCare enrollees age 65 and older. An estimated $1.2 million of federal funds were incorrectly allotted to age 65+ misclassified enrollees due to the system defect.


This black mark is not an isolated case when it comes to Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange. Enrollees in the state have faced a top premium increase of nearly 50%, according to recent data compiled by Freedom Works. Across the nation, enrollees in 34 states saw a top premium increases of 20% or more.

Alarmingly, Minnesota is not the only failed or failing Obamacare state exchange across the country. Exchanges in Oregon, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico are costing taxpayers $733 million.

Of these, the most troubling is Oregon. The state’s $305 million exchange failed to work by the November 2013 deadline – or months later, and the system was soon shut down by then-Governor Kitzhaber, at an additional cost of $41 million in mostly federal funds.

Recently discovered emails suggest that the Cover Oregon debacle can trace its origins to the Governor’s partisan political advisors who closely managed the project and made the call to shut down the exchange in order to assist the Governor’s reelection campaign. It appears that Cover Oregon's infrastructure was close to 90 percent complete when this happened.

Photo Credit: 
Blue Diamond Gallary