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Advocates Call MNSure Enrollment System Unfair

ST. PAUL (AP) – Minnesota is hiring people to help residents sign up for health plans through its new online health insurance exchange.

But advocates say the state is discriminating against the poor by paying consumer assistants less to help low-income residents.

MNsure pays assistants $70 for each person enrolled in a commercial health plan. But assistants get only $25 if their enrollee can only afford federally funded Medicaid.

Nonprofit groups say poor applicants are usually the hardest to reach because they work several jobs, move frequently and may not speak English well. Advocates say outreach to them is being underfunded by state and federal governments.

State Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson says Minnesota is seeking $7 million in federal funding to pay the assistants.

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