Health enrollment period extended |

Health enrollment period extended

The thousands of Nevadans who were unable to sign up for health care by the March 31 deadline have eight more weeks to get it done.

Officials from the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange say their board has extended that deadline period through May 30 so customers can either start or complete their applications, choose a health insurance plan and make their first payment.

"There are two groups of people we're hoping come back," said Shawna DeRousse, operations manager for the exchange. "Those people who went through the process, picked a plan and hit confirm but never paid The other group is those people who couldn't get to that point."

She said they all have another 60 days to try the website — which Xerox is working to improve — or work with a broker to pick a plan and finalize their enrollment.

Those with an active account will be able to complete the process, select a health plan effective in May, June or July and pay their premium. Premium payments must be received by the 15th of the month preceding the start of coverage.

Those with an inactive account or an account they can't log into can create a new account and application.

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DeRousse said the enrollment period also is open to those people who weren't even able to get far enough to set up an account and get an ID number.

She said they are hoping to have a check box on the website that allows a person to affirm that they tried before the March 31 deadline but couldn't get through. With that affirmation, they too will be able to go ahead and sign up before the end of May.

But until that check box is operational, those people have to call the call center and tell an agent they tried before and get clearance to proceed.

"We're going to be making exceptions for people if it's not their fault," said DeRousse.

Officials say the call center also is functioning much better now and that wait times are typically down to a couple of minutes.

Others who have a "Qualifying Life Event," such as women who just had a baby or some one who got married, have 60 days after that event to report it and get enrolled — even if that event occurs after the special enrollment period.

The website also handles those who may be eligible for Medicaid or Nevada Check-Up. Those applicants, however, don't have to apply during the special enrollment period. They can apply for Medicaid any time during the year.

For those seeking a health plan who don't get it done by May 30, the next open enrollment period isn't until November.

Signups lagged behind the exchange's 50,000 goal as of March 31. That number is far below the original exchange goal of 118,000. Of the 42,000 who selected a qualified plan, only 26,000 had actually paid their premium coverage.

Xerox officials say another 77,000 Nevadans may have at least tried to sign up without success.

One part of the site that is working, however, is the Medicaid enrollment. Thousands who went to the site have been pre-determined eligible for Medicaid or Nevada Check-Up. DeRousse said those people's applications have been transmitted to the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services for a final eligibility review.

The rules require they receive notification from the division in 45 days but she said Welfare has a backlog of Medicaid files to process totaling about 66,000 so those notifications may take a bit longer.

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