This was from two days ago, but nothing much has changed since then, either. Ryan Gustafson reports for KEYC in Mankato that the MNSure exchanges still don’t have a way for consumers to see what doctors and hospitals are connected to which plans, which makes the entire enrollment process academic. After all, who would pay for a plan without knowing whether their current providers will accept it — or any providers in their area at all?

KEYC – Mankato News, Weather, Sports –

When creating a username, they ask for something called a “shared secret”. I have no idea what it is, and couldn’t find anything to explain it. So I treated it like yet another password, and filled in a four-letter word of my choice.

They also ask for Security Questions. These were quite vague, including “What city I’d like to retire to.” Just make sure to write down which answers you select for each of these fields.

Success! I’m in. Time to start shopping for health insurance.

Sign In.
Go to my account.
And check costs.

You’ll have to repeat a lot of the identification steps. This is how they’re going to figure out who you are and how much you’ll cost to insure.

After selecting certain things I want, like a gym membership discount, I’m now presented with the plans they offer.

A couple of things are missing here though. The quality rating… it’s coming soon.

But a much bigger deal is the fact that I can’t find out what hospitals, clinics and doctors are covered by which plan. The search function doesn’t work.

That’s not good.

Randy Miller, who sells insurance with Nesbit Agencies says, “You shouldn’t buy it because there’s substantial penalties as far as your co pays and your deductions and things that are covered and not covered.”

“Shared secret”? That must be the generic idea for a security question, but it’s not going to be terribly helpful if you forget what the “shared secret” is and you need to get back into a locked account. Most websites are very specific about these security questions, such as “the street where you grew up” or “mother’s maiden name.”

The shared secret in this case is that MNSure wants people to buy a pig in a poke. Imagine buying an insurance plan without knowing which providers will accept it. A consumer might not even know for months that their local doctor won’t take the plan, and in some Minnesota communities, that might mean a very long drive for any kind of medical care. Half of the state lives in the seven counties that comprise the Twin Cities and its suburbs, but half are spread out over a fairly large geographical area.

That is probably why only 406 people have actually bought a private health-insurance plan over the last two-plus weeks of MNSure.