Former Sen. Kathy Sheran, who represented Nicollet and Le Sueur counties as part of her district, was recently elected by the MNsure Board of Directors to chair the organization.
Sheran says her goal is to make sure people are fully informed about MNSure.
“Contrary to what people might think, we are not policymakers. We are not an insurance provider. We don’t price insurance plans,” said Sheran. “We are a platform where people can purchase and compare health insurance.”
Sheran has a long history of working in health care. Prior to becoming a state senator, she worked as a nurse and assistant professor of nursing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She was elected as a DFL state senator in 2006 where she served for 10 years and chaired the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee before retiring in 2016 and joining the MNSure board in 2017.
Sheran says that her experience in health care and lawmaking has made her equipped to handle her responsibilities as chair.
“One of the major responsibilities of the board is making sure that MNSure is in compliance with the law and changes to federal law,” said Sheran. “As someone who has worked in health care and was on the committee writing many of the laws in the health care industry, I’m very familiar with how the law works.”
According to Sheran, one of the major challenges MNSure faces is that much of the public are not aware of tax credits available to them.
“There are a lot of people not coming onto the exchange and not taking tax credits they qualify for,” said Sheran. “A major goal of ours is outreach. We want to make people understand that they are eligible for premium tax credits.”
Sheran plans to pursue grant initiatives to connect with hard to reach communities that have little access to the internet. Other goals for MNSure include improving the interface and communication efficiencies of the MNSure website and solving for defects in the system to make it accessible to consumers.
“We want the consumer experience to be as efficient and easy as possible,” said Sheran. “We want the website to be easily understandable.”
Another challenge Sheran wants to tackle changing the technological infrastructure of MNSure to keep up with changes to the law. She is proud of improvements the board has already made, but says there is more work to be done.
“It is a substantially improved system from when we first started,” said Sheran. “But we are still trying to figure out how do we integrate federal changes into our technology?”
Sheran says she is proud to serve as chair and is particularly proud to serve on a state marketplace like MNSure.
“I’m glad we have a state exchange,” she said. “It means that we don’t have to wait for the feds to create their own exchange and we can create a program that works for us.”