- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The state’s health insurance exchange has enrolled nearly 59,000 Minnesotans in coverage as a key deadline approaches.

MNsure announced its most up-to-date enrollment figures on Friday, putting the exchange well ahead of enrollment at this time last year. Minnesotans have until noon on Dec. 31 to sign up for health insurance effective Jan. 1.

The roughly 59,000 signups since open enrollment began on Nov. 15 include more than 26,000 private plan enrollments and renewals. MNsure is banking on 67,000 such signups for 2015. Those numbers are crucial to the exchange’s budget because MNsure takes a fee off private plans to fund its operations.

As of Friday, the exchange had signed up more than 32,000 residents in public programs.

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