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Few glitches as Minnesotans shop MNsure, sign up

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With computer glitches plaguing the newly debuted healthcare.gov, Minnesota's own online marketplace seems to have enjoyed a smoother launch -- but what do residents think about it?

MNsure has certainly had its own problems, that hasn't stopped people scoping out the options and signing up. State officials hope to see the half-million uninsured Minnesota residents covered under the program, but how quickly that happens remains to be seen.

So far, the online marketplace has seen 36,546 unique pageviews and more than 15,000 accounts have been opened. Yet, Kristine Palkovich admitted she felt a little let down because she feels the health insurance plans available are still too expensive for a working mom.

"The lowest priced one for me -- just me pricing -- is $148 a month with a $5,000 deductible where I pay everything out of pocket until I reach $5,000 per year," she explained.

In Cottage Grove, self-employed piano instructor Mitch Grussing is singing a different tune because, since he has a pre-existing medical condition, MNsure's options were music to his ears.

"It's really great that I can shop for an insurance policy on equal footing with everybody else rather than the chunk of the population that has to pay more," he said.

MNsure's site launched on the first of the month, and it offers individuals, families and small employers a place to shop for health care insurance coverage. So far, more than 5,500 insurance applications have been completed.

"We're feeling very good about where things are at," stated April Todd-Malmlov, executive director of MNsure.

Unlike President Barack Obama on Monday, Todd-Malmlov said she was excited about Minnesota's initial attempt to get everyone insured.

"We've got thousands of Minnesotans that have come in and are getting health care coverage that have never had it before," she said. "They're being able to choose coverage. They have never had the choice in coverage. They are getting really low rates and saving hundreds of dollars per month."

Even so, users like Palkovich point out that the MNsure website still has a few glitches even after three weeks. Some have also complained that the security verification process blocked their access, but with a little bit of patience, it seems everyone can access a variety of insurance plans with differing premiums, deductibles and benefits.

"I'm going to be saving quite a bit of money," Grussing said.

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