Nevada: @NVHealthLink enrolls 17.5K in first month of 2022 Open Enrollment; up 4.2% y/y

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The headline choice in this Nevada Health Link press release confused me a bit at first when I saw the larger number later on, but I sorted it out:

Nevada Health Link Enrolls 17,452 Nevadans in First Month of Open Enrollment Period

CARSON CITY, NV) – Nearly 17,452 Nevadans have actively enrolled in qualified health insurance plans within the first 30 days of open enrollment through Nevada Health Link. The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), Nevada’s state agency that helps individuals get connected to affordable health and dental coverage, began on November 1, 2021 and runs through January 15, 2022.

The key phrasing here is "actively enrolled." The 17,452 figure only includes new enrollees or current enrollees who have actively logged into their account and selected a new plan (or renewed their existing one) for 2022. It doesn't include current enrollees who have been auto-renewed.

This is the Exchange’s third year operating as a state-based exchange or marketplace and the agency continues to see positive growth in enrollments each year. Just a month into open enrollment, nearly 12,524 consumers have actively re-enrolled in the health insurance plans, meaning consumers went online to Nevada Health Link to seek new coverage either through upgrading or changing plans. The Exchange expanded options for consumers during this Open Enrollment Period, including two additional insurance carriers, bringing to a total of seven carriers and 126 total qualified health plans offered statewide.

Of the over 17,000 enrollees, 4,928 are new consumers, meaning they were not already enrolled in plans through Nevada Health Link. In total, 17,452 Nevadans have actively taken advantage of health insurance through Nevada Health Link this OEP so far, with a total of 89,390 consumers enrolled as of December 1. Nevada Health Link is the only place Nevadans can take advantage of federal tax credits (subsidies) to offset the costs of monthly premiums, making it one of the most affordable options available to Nevadans seeking coverage. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress in March 2021 increased the amount of federal subsidies available and expanded the number of Nevadans who qualify for subsidies. In fact, now 90% of consumers qualify for financial assistance to lower their insurance costs.

The exact wording here is important: It sounds like there's 76,866 currently-effectuated enrollees, of whom 12,524 have actively renewed for 2022. Most of the rest will either actively renew or be auto-renewed, but some portion of them will cancel their policies at the end of the month:

  • 76,866 current enrollees who have yet to be renewed (actively or automatically)
  • 12,524 active renewals
  • 4,928 new enrollees

Here's how these compares with the same time period last year:

  • 50,434 auto-renewals
  • 9,331 active renewals (up 34.2% this year)
  • 7,423 new enrollees (down 33.6% this year)

Again while the 1/3 drop in new enrollees is significant, the context is vital: There were 21,450 Nevadans who enrolled during the COVID Special Enrollment Period which ended in mid-August...all of whom who are still enrolled today are considered renewals, not new for 2022 OEP purposes.

Combined, that's 17,452 active/new for 2022 vs. 16,754 active/new last year, or up 4.2% year over year. I won't know what the total y/y change is until the auto-renewals are added to the mix, however; I'm tempted to tack on the full 76.9K, but it's not gonna be all of them.

“Nevada Health Link is committed to ensuring every Nevadan has access to quality and affordable health care coverage and this Open Enrollment Period has been critical in achieving that goal,” said Janel Davis, Communications Officer with the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.“ Open enrollment is going on now through January 15, 2022, and we encourage all Nevadans who are currently uninsured and/or are looking for comprehensive coverage, to shop for plans. Many consumers are unaware that they qualify for savings and are surprised to discover that they are eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly premium costs. Now is not the time to go without health insurance, and for those concerned about prices, should

speak to a local certified and free enrollment assister or broker to find a plan within their budget and health needs. This is private insurance at an affordable cost.”

Nevada Health Link is ideal for those who don’t qualify for Medicare (65+) or Medicaid benefits, but still want a lower monthly premium; those who don’t have employee-sponsored health insurance, including independent contractors and gig workers; and anyone seeking comprehensive, quality, and affordable plans.

Nevada Health Link offers free enrollment assistance to help Nevadans navigate the enrollment process by comparing plans, finding savings and working with each individual’s budget and health needs. Getting through to the phone lines has been quick and efficient this year, to ensure Nevadans are not waiting on hold for extended periods of time. During plan year 2022 open enrollment, the Exchange’s call center customer satisfaction survey has a score of 94% in the last 30 days.

Open enrollment is one of the only times Nevadans can enroll in plans through the Exchange, unless experiencing certain Qualifying Life Events (QLEs), such as losing health insurance, change of employment or income, getting married, having a child or moving.

To find out if you’re eligible and to learn more, visit Nevada Health Link or call 1-800-547- 2927. The call center is open Monday through Sunday during Open Enrollment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.