Last month, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, which is Nevada’s state agency that helps people get health coverage through Nevada Health Link, began the process of transitioning away from the Healthcare.gov platform to a more cost-effective alternative.
How We Got Here
A few years ago, Nevada had an in-house enrollment site. Unfortunately, because of a failed partnership with Xerox, thousands of people were left out in the cold when it was time to actually use the insurance they’d been paying for. After that, Nevada made the transition to becoming a hybrid market place, letting residents purchase Nevada’s health insurance plans over the federal system, Healthcare.gov.
The system has worked reliably well, but there’s one problem: it isn’t cheap. In 2017, Nevada paid over $4 million to the federal government to use its online platform. By 2020, using the current system will cost more than $12 million, a price tag that the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange will be unable to pay.
The Nevada Silver State Health Insurance Exchange is exploring another avenue. Transitioning to an in-house enrollment site would not only save a significant amount of money. After the debacle with Xerox in 2014, when thousands of customers paid for insurance coverage that they did not receive, it’s not surprising that many residents are apprehensive about the transition. However, it’s important to note the technology has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last four years, and the state will only contract with a company that already successfully operates a state-based marketplace. Other states, such as Idaho and California, use proven and demonstrably reliable in-house systems that offer superior features and cost significantly less than the Healthcare.gov platform. In fact, the cost of running a state-based site could be up to half of what the state pays to the federal government.
What This Means for You
Changes are coming, but they’re not here yet. During the upcoming open enrollment period 11/1/2018, residents will still use Healthcare.gov to sign up for a health insurance plan. However, in the months that follow, the company that the state contracts with to run the in-house site will be setting up an enrollment system. If everything goes according to plan, Nevada Health Link will operate as a State Based Marketplace on November 1, 2019. As a customer, you’ll be able to select a Qualified Health Plan with coverage that would begin on January 1, 2020.
Having access to health care is an important basic necessity for all residents, and your health insurance agent is there to help you navigate changes in the enrollment process and ensure that you avoid lapses in coverage.