By Louise Norris
February 5, 2014
Nevada Health Link, the state-run exchange, had enrolled 22,566 people by December 28. That was an increase of nearly 10,000 people in just five days; the exchange had enrolled 12,745 people by midnight on December 23, the enrollment deadline for a January 1 effective date. The exchange’s goal is still 118,000 enrollments by the end of March, which spokesperson CJ Bawden said will be “challenging.” Applicants now have until February 15 to enroll for a March 1 effective date.
Working towards their goal of enrolling as many people as possible in the exchange, navigators will be working at enrollment fairs every weekend in February and March. From 10am – 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, navigators will be be available to help enroll people at Nevada JobConnect offices in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.
Although Nevada Health Link is working better than it was in October, there are still problems with the site, including concerns that ID cards and bills are not being sent to insureds in a timely fashion. The state hired Xerox – with a $70 million contract – about $12 million of which had been paid by the end of January – to create and operate the exchange, and Governor Brian Sandoval was putting pressure on Xerox to get the site completely operational as soon as possible.
Nevada’s Division of Insurance announced in late November that policies scheduled to end on December 31 could not be extended into 2014, and should instead be replaced with ACA compliant plans.
Four health insurance carriers are offering policies in Nevada’s exchange: Anthem, Health Plan of Nevada, Nevada Health CO-OP and Saint Mary’s Healthfirst. The lowest-cost bronze plan in Nevada’s exchange averages $227/month, which is lower than the national average of $249.
Nevada’s blueprint for its state-run health insurance exchange received federal approval on Dec. 3, 2012. Gov. Sandoval and the state legislature created the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange in 2011, and the state moved steadily to get the marketplace up and running.
Nevada’s exchange is overseen by a 10-member board, seven of which are voting members. Five of the voting members were appointed by the governor, and the other two were appointed by the state Senate majority leader. The three nonvoting members lead the state’s departments of Administration, Health & Human Services, and Insurance.
Nevada Health Link operates as a “free market facilitator,” meaning it allows all qualified health insurance companies to sell policies on the exchange. Insurers can participate in both the individual and small-business exchanges.
Nevada has received about $75 million in federal grants to establish its marketplace. Going forward, Nevada Health Link will be funded by a monthly fee charged to health insurance companies that operate on the exchange. Plans that include dental coverage will pay $5.31 per issued policy, while those without will pay $4.95 in 2014. The monthly fees will increase annually and are estimated to be about $8 per month for medical-only policies in 2017.
Nevada Health Link officials hope to reduce the state’s uninsured rate from the current 22 percent to 8 percent, according to a Kaiser Health News article.
Silver State Health Exchange
Information about exchange planning and start-up operations
State Exchange Profile: Nevada
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Nevadaʼs progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Nevada Governorʼs Office for Consumer Health Assistance
Serves all residents with health-related issues; benefits, denials, insured, uninsured, worker’s compensation, and hospital billing.
(702) 486-3587 / Toll-Free: 1-888-333-1597 (nationwide)