ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's health insurance exchange has eclipsed its goal for consumer plan enrollment for the first time.

MNsure announced Monday it had signed up more than 85,000 in private health care plans in the open enrollment period that ended Sunday. After cutting projections several times for the year, the exchange had aimed to register 83,000 in private plans.

Those signups are critical because they support MNsure's budget. It's the first time MNsure has met its projections since it opened in 2013.

Chief executive Allison O'Toole says surpassing the goal is evidence of MNsure's steady improvement since its disastrous launch two years ago.

The exchange was buoyed by luring first-time shoppers with the availability of tax credits. O'Toole says MNsure attracted more new customers than any exchange in the nation.