Health insurance in Nevada
- Nevada has a state-run exchange that uses HealthCare.gov for enrollment.
- Open enrollment for 2019 coverage in Nevada ended on December 15, but enrollment is still possible for residents who have qualifying events.
- Short-term health plans are available in Nevada with initial plan terms up to 185 days.
- Two carriers are offering 2019 coverage through the Nevada exchange.
- The average premium increase in Nevada is about .4 percent.
- About 91,000 enrolled in 2018 coverage through the Nevada exchange.
- Nevada implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in 2014.
- Short-term plans in Nevada are limited to 185 days and are not renewable.
Nevada’s health marketplace
Nevada is also the only state in the country where off-exchange plans are available year-round, albeit with a three-month waiting period before coverage begins if you enroll outside of open enrollment and don’t have a qualifying event.
On-exchange open enrollment ended on December 15, but enrollment is still possible for residents who have qualifying events.
Nevada carriers and rate increases
For Nevada’s individual market, average rates are increasing by about 0.4 percent for 2019 plans. At ACA Signups, Charles Gaba notes that average rates in Nevada would likely be declining by about 5 percent in 2019 if the individual mandate penalty wasn’t being repealed, and if the Trump Administration hadn’t expanded access to short-term plans and association health plans.
Read more about Nevada’s marketplace, carriers and rate increases.
Exchange enrollment hits record high for 2018
In 2017, 91,003 people enrolled in 2018 coverage through Nevada’s exchange – a 2.2 percent increase over the previous year’s enrollment total (which had also been an increase from 2016).
Nevada is one of only a handful of states where exchange enrollment has increased enrollment every year since 2014. In that first year, fewer than 36,000 people enrolled, and the exchange struggled with technology problems. In 2015, after switching to HealthCare.gov’s enrollment platform, Nevada’s exchange enrollment more than doubled, to above 73,000 enrollees.
Medicaid expansion in Nevada
Nevada expanded Medicaid in 2014, and as a result, the state estimated that roughly 204,000 people became newly eligible for coverage, most of them childless adults who are working but whose employers do not offer health insurance coverage.
Nevada’s acceptance of federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of poverty has played a significant role in reducing the state’s uninsured population.
As of May 2017, average monthly enrollment for Nevada Medicaid/CHIP had grown by 298,810 people since late 2013 – a 90 percent increase. As of July 2018, the number of Nevadans covered by Medicaid/CHIP has increased by 337,000 since 2013.
Short-term coverage in Nevada
New federal rules for short-term plans clarify that states may continue to impose tighter regulations than the new federal rules. So short-term plans in Nevada have maximum terms of 185 days, and continue to be nonrenewable. (In states that don’t impose stricter limits, the new federal rules allow short-term plans to have initial terms of up to 364 days, and total duration, including renewals, of up to three years).
Read more about short-term health plans in Nevada.
How has Obamacare helped Nevada residents
In 2013, a fifth of Nevada residents (20.3 percent of the population) were uninsured. By 2015, that number had fallen by 39 percent, to 12.3 percent.
Medicaid enrollment in Nevada increased by 90 percent from 2013 to May 2017 – the second highest percentage increase in the US, second only to Kentucky. Clearly, the expansion of Medicaid has played a major role in reducing the number of Nevada residents without health insurance.
Nevada and the Affordable Care Act
In 2010, Nevada’s U.S. Senators were split on healthcare reform. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid voted yes and was an ardent supporter of the ACA from the get-go. But Republican John Ensign voted against the ACA. In the U.S. House, two Nevada Democrats – Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley – voted yes, while one Republican – Dean Heller – voted no.
Reid did not run for reelection in 2016, and was replaced in the Senate by Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who supports the ACA. Heller has replaced Ensign and is now the Senior Senator from Nevada. He would still rather see the ACA replaced with tort reform and market-based overhauls, although he was one of the Republican Senators who was openly critical of some aspects of the Senate efforts to repeal the ACA in the summer of 2017. Heller has repeatedly said that Republicans need to focus on solutions rather than just calling for the ACA to be repealed, and he voted no on both the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act in late July 2017.
In the U.S. House, Nevada’s delegation now includes three Democrats and one Republican.
At the state level, Nevada has a Republican governor, a roughly equally divided Senate (but with a slightly Democratic majority), and a Democratic majority in the Assembly. Governor Brian Sandoval is generally opposed to the ACA because of “the individual mandate it places on citizens, the increased burden on businesses and concerns about access to health care.” But in 2012, Sandoval became the first Republican governor to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid starting in 2014, and he’s also continued to urge the Trump Administration to ensure that any changes to the ACA don’t pull the rug out from under the hundreds of thousands of people who have gained coverage in Nevada as a result of the ACA — mostly via Medicaid expansion.
Nevada was also the only state with a Republican governor that opted to run its own exchange in 2014. Unfortunately, Nevada Health Link ran into crippling technical problems early in open enrollment and never fully recovered. In May 2014, shortly after the first open enrollment period ended, the Nevada exchange board unanimously agreed to switch to Healthcare.gov‘s enrollment platform but continue to exist as a supported state-based marketplace. That is still the structure Nevada uses as they head into the fifth open enrollment period in the fall of 2017.
Medicare enrollment in Nevada
Historically, 86 percent of Nevada Medicare recipients qualify for coverage based on age alone – slightly higher than the national average (84 percent) – and 14 percent qualify as the result of a disability.
Nevada Medicare recipients who want additional benefits beyond what original Medicare offers may choose a Medicare Advantage plan instead of traditional coverage. Nearly 34 percent select a Medicare Advantage plan in Nevada, whereas 31 percent of all Medicare recipients are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Part D plans are also an option for Nevada Medicare beneficiaries who want to stand-alone prescription drug coverage. About 60 percent of Nevada Medicare enrollees also have a stand-alone Rx plan compared with 45 percent of all Medicare enrollees.
State-based health reform legislation
Here’s a summary of recent Nevada bills related to health reform: