Frequently asked questions about health insurance
coverage options in Nevada
From 2015 through 2019, Nevada Health Link was a state-run exchange that used Healthcare.gov for enrollment. But starting in the fall of 2019, Nevada residents began enrolling through Nevada Health Link, as the state is no longer using HealthCare.gov.
Read our overview of the Nevada health insurance marketplace – including news updates and exchange history.
The open enrollment period for 2021 health plans was extended by Nevada Health Link, and continued through January 15, 2021. This was a month longer than the enrollment window that applied in states that use the federally run exchange, and is another example of the flexibility that Nevada gained by establishing its own enrollment platform.
Outside of the open enrollment period in Nevada, state residents with qualifying events can enroll or make changes to their coverage. And a COVID/American Rescue Plan enrollment window is being offered in 2021; it continues through August 15, 2021. Applicants are not required to show proof of a qualifying event in order to get coverage or make a plan change during this window.
Five insurers – Silver Summit, Health Plan of Nevada, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (HMO Colorado/HMO Nevada), Friday Health Plans, and SelectHealth – offer 2021 plans through the Nevada health insurance marketplace.
Anthem had exited the exchange at the end of 2017, but rejoined in the fall of 2019, for plans effective in 2020. And SelectHealth and Friday Health Plans both joined the exchange for 2021.
Open enrollment for 2021 health plans ran from November 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021 in Nevada, and 81,903 people enrolled in private health plans through Nevada Health Link during that window.
During open enrollment for 2021 coverage, 81,903 people enrolled in plans through Nevada Health Link. That was up from 77,410 people the year before, but still lower than enrollment had been for 2018, when 91,003 people had enrolled in plans through Nevada’s exchange.
Nevada is one of only a handful of states where exchange enrollment increased every year from 2014 through 2018. 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. And the high-water mark came in 2018. Enrollment has declined since then, but the COVID-19 pandemic and Nevada Health Link’s decision to open a special enrollment period for uninsured individuals has likely resulted in a substantial increase in enrollment mid-way through 2020.
Nevada expanded Medicaid in 2014, and as a result, the state estimated that roughly 204,000 people became newly eligible for Medicaid 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 November 2020, average monthly enrollment for Nevada Medicaid/CHIP had grown by more than 410,000 people since late 2013 – a 123% increase. (Enrollment in Medicaid plans had plateaued by 2017, and had remained fairly steady until 2020, when the COVID pandemic resulted in widespread job losses.)
Read more about Medicaid expansion and eligibility for Medicaid in Nevada.
Although the federal government relaxed the rules for short-term health plans in 2018, states may continue to impose tighter regulations. So short-term health plans in Nevada have maximum terms of 185 days, and continue to be nonrenewable, as those are the state’s rules.
(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 insurance in Nevada.
In 2013, a fifth of Nevada residents (20.7% of the population) were uninsured. By 2018, that number had fallen by nearly 46%, to 11.2%. But it increased slightly in 2019 (as was the case in most other states), growing to 11.4%.
Medicaid enrollment in Nevada increased by 117% from 2013 to September 2020 – the second-highest percentage increase in the US, behind only Kentucky. Clearly, the expansion of Medicaid has played a major role in reducing the number of Nevada residents without health insurance.
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. Jacky Rosen, also a Democrat, is now the Junior Senator from Nevada and is also a strong supporter of the ACA.
In the U.S. House, Nevada’s delegation now includes three Democrats and one Republican.
At the state level as of 2021, Nevada has a Democratic governor (who supports the ACA and is working to protect it from being overturned in the California v. Texas/Texas v. Azar lawsuit), and a Democratic majority in both the Senate and the Assembly.
Former Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, was 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 continued to urge the Trump Administration to ensure that any changes to the ACA wouldn’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 the structure Nevada used until the fall of 2019, when they switched back to using the much improved Nevada Health Link platform.
- 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)