Nevada set to leave federal health insurance exchange
July 12, 2018
The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange on Thursday voted unanimously to contract with Get Insured to build and operate Nevada's own health insurance exchange.
The exchange voted last year to leave the federal system, which is increasing its rates to provide health case management through Healthcare.gov to the point it would leave Nevada's exchange no money to operate.
The vote was unanimous to approve the $24.4 million, five-year contract with the company to enroll Nevadans in health insurance policies that fit their needs and are rated as Qualified Health Plans under Obamacare.
Executive Director Heather Korbulic said not only will Nevada customers get better service, there will be a savings of about 50 percent in the cost of operating the exchange. Those costs, currently 3 percent of premiums, are borne by the customers. But the federal government will charge the entire 3 percent beginning next year. By comparison, Korbulic said the cost of the Get Insured exchange will probably require just 1.5 percent premiums and those savings will come despite the fact the conversion will require Nevada's system to hire a number of additional employees.
She said Get Insured, a division of VIMO, Inc., is already operating exchanges in six states including Idaho. She said that was a key factor in selecting the company because the Idaho exchange is similar to the population and other factors.
"There's a lot of confidence because this company was instrumental in transitioning Idaho from Healthcare.gov to its own platform in 2015," she said.
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Korbulic said signing on with a company that already operates in a half dozen other states also creates opportunities for shared costs if, for example, the federal government imposes new rules that require programming and other changes in the system. She said all of the company's states would share in the cost of those changes.
She said that's one reason the exchange and her staff were dedicated to purchasing something that already exists and has proven to be successful.
The new system, she said, will be a lot more user friendly than the federal system, especially for brokers and other professionals who will have their own portals to enter the system.
"We're very confident about the technology being successful," she said.
The new system will roll out over the next year, going live in September 2019 for the November 2019 open enrollment period.
Nevada's health exchange currently serves slightly more than 91,000 people with health insurance plans and has grown steadily over the past few years.
The contract goes to the Board of Examiners in August for final approval.