Thursday, January 28, 2021 | 2 a.m
Almost 82,000 Nevadans purchased health insurance in 2020 through the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange’s open enrollment period.
The 81,903 people newly covered are not a record, but they represent an increase of almost 6% from 2019. Exchange Executive Director Heather Korbulic said people who purchase lawful coverage on affordable care via the online marketplace, Nevada Health Link, does not. We should not give a reason to turn to the exchange, but it goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has something to do with it.
“I think it’s fair to guess that at least some of our new enrollees lost their employer sponsored plans because they lost their jobs,” Korbulic said.
The pandemic may also lead to increased enrollments, as displaced workers who have used COBRA insurance plans after being made redundant may see temporary plans expire, and, when the public health emergency is declared over, Medicaid agencies will be able to reassess who is eligible. Those who earn enough to file Medicaid can still benefit from a subsidized plan via the exchange; about four out of five exchange customers typically do so.
Registration was open from November 1, 2020 to January. 15, but with continued personal life and economic changes likely as the pandemic continues, and President Joe Biden’s expected reopening of open registration by executive order, Korbulic said the state was ready to cover even more. of people.
“We anticipate that the next nine to ten months will be very dynamic with our registrations,” she said. “We are ready for the Nevadans to come and enjoy special entry periods at a rate that we have probably never seen before.”
Korbulic and his healthcare policy colleagues entered the open enrollment period unsure of the ACA’s fate with a looming Supreme Court case that could have struck down Obamacare. The court, however, seems likely to leave the bulk of the affordable care law in place, including key protections for pre-existing conditions and subsidized insurance premiums that affect tens of millions of Americans.
Simply, ACA is needed.
“The fact that the Affordable Care Act has survived the past four years despite paper cut after paper cut with rules and challenges to sustainability again and again, it has been resilient due to the need,” said Korbulic. “Americans and Nevadans need access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance that won’t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and allows portability – you can quit your job while still getting full benefits. “
The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange featured five insurers offering 50 plans, nearly double the number of plans from the previous year. Two of these carriers were new to Nevada.
Sal Gentile, CEO of one of the new players, Friday Health Plans, said his Denver-based company has signed up just under 10,000 Nevadans so far, almost all of them through the exchange. This is the high end of its expected range, he said.
Gentile said Friday Health Plans still needs to survey its customers to find out whether the loss of jobs or entry into the concert economy due to a pandemic has led people to Friday Health’s exchange plans, but “for at the moment, I can only suspect that this is true given all that is going on. and how our brand generally resonates.
Proportionately, Nevada did as well on Friday health plans as the much larger Texas, with listings roughly reflecting Nevada’s population distribution, he said.
Korbulic said she looks forward to working with the Biden administration and the new Congress.
“There is a lot of reason to be encouraged with a president who supports not only existing policies but also correcting the policy and building afterwards,” she said. “I think with the Senate’s transition to a Democratic majority there will be a lot more conversation, and probably a solid conversation, about how our health care systems work and how we can improve them.”
The demographics of exchange users are expected to be determined by spring, she said.