Health exchange enrollment running ‘smoothly’ so far

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Unlike last year, open enrollment for health insurance under Obamacare is working smoothly thus far.

“It was a positive weekend,” said Tyler Klimas, spokesman for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. “Traffic has been great in the enrollment stores. It’s a steady flow in and out for both qualified health plans and Medicaid as well.”

After the disastrous experience with the Xerox call center and Internet site a year ago, Nevada converted to a federally supported state based system that prequalifies applicants at the state website then transfers them either to the federal site or Medicaid qualified applicants to the state Health and Human Services Department website at AccessNevada.

Klimas said the health exchange doesn’t have numbers of applicants at this point. Those, he said, are to come from the insurance carriers who are actually providing the insurance plans and, this year, collecting the premiums from customers.

Having the state collect premium payments and forward them to the insurance companies was one of the biggest problems with last year’s process.

Klimas said exchange officials have been asking insurance companies for daily progress reports and so far those have been positive.

“The technology is working,” he said.

He said he thinks it will take a couple of weeks before the exchange starts to get numbers of enrollees.

One of the big changes was to open two “bricks and mortar” enrollment stores — one in Las Vegas and another in Reno — for applicants to go get help with enrollment. The Reno store is located at 3937 South McCarran, the corner of Longley and McCarran and is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Everyone who enrolled for coverage last year is required to re-enroll this year in the new system. He said those who don’t will automatically be rolled over into a new plan with their insurance company but without the subsidy they have been getting this year — which would mean a dramatic increase in their insurance premium.

Open enrollment doesn’t end until Feb. 15 but people who want their coverage to continue uninterrupted in January have to re-enroll by Dec. 15.

“It’s day four so we’ve got a long way to go,” Klimas said.


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