END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

Minnesota: Here's an amusing development for you...

Less than 24 hours after Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin decided to pull the plug on the kynect ACA exchange for no particularly good reason, a completely different recommendation was made by a task force subcommittee in Minnesota:

A subcommittee of a state task force recommended Monday continuing with a state-run health insurance exchange like MNsure for now, rather than transferring Minnesotans to the national exchange called HealthCare.gov

Moving to the federal website would be costly and wouldn't work with the state's MinnesotaCare insurance program, said a report endorsed by the 11-person subcommittee of the state task force on health care finance.

Plus, by moving to HealthCare.gov, the state would lose control over its network of health insurance navigators that help people enroll in coverage, according to the report.

"The committee overwhelmingly voted not to move to HealthCare.gov at this point," said chairwoman Lynn Blewett, who is a health care researcher at the University of Minnesota.

The irony here is that unlike kynect, which has run pretty much flawlessly since Day One over two years ago (at least, if they've had any significant glitches, I've yet to hear about them), the Minnesota exchange, MNsure, was among those plagued with technical problems all along; while many of these have been resolved, apparently there are still some bugs in the system, which is why the state task force was put together to make a recommendation in the first place.

The full task force still has to vote on the issue, but I have to shake my head here: The exchange which one could potentially justify shuttering will continue to operate, while the one which doesn't need fixing is being shot through the heart.

In addition, according to subcommittee member Lynn Blewett:

@xpostfactoid1 @MNsure @jrlumpkin @pauldemko YES, subcommittee voted to expand MNCare (BHP) to 275% of FPL but full committee votes FRI

— LynnBlewett (@LynnBlewett) January 12, 2016

Again, the full committee still has to vote on both recommendations, but assuming they go through, MNsure will continue to chug along, while MinnesotaCare (MN's Basic Health Program, which has been in place since years before the ACA), which currently covers enrollees up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, would be expanded further up the income ladder.

This is great news for the enrollees, but it could ironically cause further heartburn for the exchange itself. As I noted last week, New York's private exchange enrollment number will likely be cut by up to 50% this year due to their newly-added BHP, which cannibalizes a good half of the potential enrollees who would otherwise sign up. If MNsure does extend MNCare to 275% FPL, they'll have to seriously restructure the rest of the exchange, in particular the funding mechanism, since an additional chunk of their enrollees would be siphoned off.