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New health insurance exchange opens

ST. PAUL — Minnesotans began shopping for insurance online Tuesday, as a fundamental part of a new federal health law began.

A majority of people receive health insurance via their employers and nearly all of those policies will continue as is. Those on government-subsidized health care, some small-business employees and people without insurance or who carry their own private insurance are the ones who may be attracted to government-run services known as “marketplaces” or “exchanges.”

MNsure is the Minnesota marketplace. It is a politically divisive program subject to extensive debate in the state Capitol, debate that continued as opening day neared.

Marketplaces such as MNsure are the foundation of federal health-care reform, popularly known as Obamacare.

Basically, a health-care marketplace gives people a way to compare and buy health policies online, although the work also can be done via telephone or in person. The bulk of MNsure clients will be those who under current law would receive

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.