CLARKSTON, WA – Leaders with Washington’s Health Care Exchange are preparing for the second open enrollment period, but at the same time they are still working on resolving billing and computer problems for 1,300 accounts from the first sign-up period.
This is very confusingly worded, because it makes it sound like all 3 companies have been operating on the HC.gov exchange when it turns out that only 2 of them have. Wellmark did not participate in the ACA exchange; the 19,000 customers referred to here have off-exchange policies which are still ACA-compliant:
Commissioner Nick Gerhart said today that he has approved premium increases from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOportunity Health and Coventry Health.
Three important pieces of information about Nevada's exchange out of this article:
1. NV's move to HC.gov will be permanent. The original plan was to only move to the federal exchange for 2015, then moving back to their own (2nd attempt) platform for 2016, which frankly always sounded a bit silly to me. There were lots of reasons for the states to run their own exchanges originally (federal cash to do so, autonomy/local control, etc.), but the federal funding will have dried up by then, and if everything is running smoothly at HC.gov, I'm not sure I see the point in uprooting the whole system at that point. Frankly, there's really only one major reason I could see to move back to their own platform, but...
2. While NV will be using the HC.gov software platform, they'll still legally be considered a state-run exchange, which means that they're safe from any potential SCOTUS Halbig/King fallout. This is basically the entire point I was making way back on July 2nd with my "Domain and a Splashpage" solution.
For those who assume Cover Oregon will go away when the federal government takes overthe state exchange's job of enrolling people in health coverage, think again.
Even as Oregon works on hooking up to the federal website by November, some Cover Oregon board members hope the engagement with Uncle Sam will be only a one-year affair.
I found one quote in particular to be a bit of an eyebrow-raiser:
But the idea is controversial on both sides of the political aisle in Salem.
"Hell, no," says Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas. He thinks Oregon should leave the job to the federal exchange and Cover Oregon as a stand-alone agency should go away. "Cover Oregon, the whole structure is bad from beginning to end. I don't trust the federal government. But I do trust the federal government more than I do the state of Oregon."
One of the big news stories in 2013 and early 2014 was the botched launch of the federal Exchange (and several key state Exchanges), which led to many Americans having to wait to be enrolled in an ACA-sanctioned health plan. Although some technical snafus have been addressed, many still remain. For example, a top White House official told Congress recently that the automated system to send payments to insurance companies is still under development, and didn't offer a completion date. The lack of an electronic verification process is only one part of the "backend" of the software that is still problematic five years after the Act was passed.
Hmmmm...ok, yesterday I reported that "over 37,000" Nevadans had fully enrolled & paid for QHPs to date, based on a story in the Las Vegas Sun. Today, a similar story over at KTNV (ABC Channel 13) gives the estimated number as 38,000, about 900 higher than the 38.1K I figured yesterday. Everything else is pretty much the same.
The couple is among an estimated 38,000 Nevadans who purchased plans through the health link website but will have to re-enroll between Nov. 15 and Feb. 15 because of the state's switch from Xerox to the healthcare.gov.
There hasn't been a real QHP update out of Nevada since they shut down their extension-of-an-extension period at the end of May.At the time, their total enrollment figure was still stuck at 47,245, but their paid number had inched up to an unimpressive 35,700 people.
Today, some 2 months later, it looks like that number still isn't all that impressive (I'm assuming "more than 37K" is around 37,100). Adding insult to injury, all of them will have to re-enroll via HC.gov, although to be honest I kind of figured as much; I'd be very surprised if Oregon isn't facing the same issue, and as I've already noted, it's probably a good idea to have everyone re-enroll anyway just to make sure that they aren't surprised by changes in their tax subsidies:
More than 37,000 Nevadans who signed up for health care plans on the state’s insurance exchange will have to do so again.
The decision is the latest in a series of ongoing changes at the exchange as it tries to recover from a tumultuous first year of signing up consumers for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is asking all health insurers doing business in Washington state to end discrimination in health insurance based on gender identity and related medical conditions.
In a letter sent to health insurers this morning, Kreidler reminded health insurers that exclusions and denials of coverage on the basis of gender identity are against the Washington Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60) and the federal Affordable Care Act (Section 1557).
...“Transgender people are entitled to the same access to health care as everyone else,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Whether specific services are considered medically necessary should be up to the provider to decide on behalf of their patient.”
Finally, we have Nevada; while their QHP enrollment was pretty lame, their Medicaid expansion has done quite well. They have an estimated 304,000 people eligible for expansion, of which the state has already enrolled about 27%:
There were 467,000 Medicaid enrollees as of the end of April — 50,000 more than anticipated, said Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Of those 83,000 people are newly eligible childless adults who did not previously qualify.
Willden projected Nevada's Medicaid numbers will reach 600,000 by the end of the year.
A rather depressing end to Nevada's first open enrollment period. The state pushed their extension period far beyond any other state (most states stopped at 4/15; Oregon's was 4/30...Nevada kicked it out another month beyond that to 5/30), and still didn't come close to either their initial target or even my own "fair share" target of 73,000 QHP enrollees:
About 35,700 consumers have purchased insurance coverage through the program. Enrollment is far less than an initial target of 118,000.
(and yes, that 35,700 figure is paid, not total; the total number stood at 47,245 a couple of weeks ago).
First Oregon told Oracle to go pound sand after paying the company hundreds of millions of dollars for a useless website; now Nevada has officially done the same thing to Xerox:
The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board voted unanimously Tuesday to end its relationship with Xerox, the vendor contracted in 2012 to build the exchange’s Nevada Health Link website.
In place of Xerox, the exchange will adopt the federal Healthcare.gov exchange’s eligibility and enrollment functions for the sign-up period that begins Nov. 15, though it will keep its status and funding as a state-controlled system. The exchange will also issue a request for proposals to evaluate replacement systems in coming years. A new platform could come from a state with a functional marketplace, or from a vendor with a similar, proven program.
Unlike Massachusetts, which is taking a dual-path approach (they're scrambling to replace their own crappy site with a new one while simultaneously preparing to move over to HC.gov just in case the first plan doesn't pan out in time), Nevada is sort of doing the opposite: They're moving over to HC.gov this year, but reserving the right to try a do-over on their own exchange for 2016 and beyond.
Nevada is the only exchange still officially open for "normal" private QHP enrollments (although of course SHOP, Medicaid, etc. are all year-round). WIth this update, Nevada's paid QHP rate jumps from 71% up to 76% (still not great, but an impressive spike in one week...more the existing enrollees catching up with their payments than new ones being added):
The board overseeing Nevada Health Link was told Thursday that nearly 35,000 people had enrolled in a qualified health plan as of May 3, halfway through a two-month special enrollment period that ends May 30.
Another 11,000 have selected plans but not yet paid for them.
Managers believe they had QHP enrollment information and premium payments for 34,820 residents as of May 3.
I think this is the first Nevada update I've posted which didn't come from the Nevada Health Link's Twitter feed. Technically only 28,208 have actually paid their first premium so far, but another 4,332 have scheduled their payment which is certainly a huge step ahead of having "enrolled but not even arranged for a payment" (and my model has 7% of this total being lopped out for potential non-payment anyway). So, 32,540 it is until further notice.
And the number of people who enrolled in and paid for a qualified health plan through the exchange hit 28,208 on April 5, up from 25,899 people on March 31. Another 4,332 consumers have scheduled payments.