Ron Bliss: Nevada, California seem to have it better than other states in terms of ObamaCare

I have been having a discussion with agents from other states regarding ObamaCare and their states seem to be having it worse than Nevada and California, when it comes their states’ health insurance premiums.

Both Nevada and California set up their own state exchanges and that seems to be paying dividends. Covered California has had a better run than the Nevada Health Link, which turned things over to the federal exchange this year because of problems that led to the state firing Xerox in 2014.

However, in comparison with other states, Nevada has done well. The rates for 2016 are coming out in bits and pieces, but so far the indications are encouraging.

Hometown Health reduced small-group rates for the fourth quarter of 2015 by as much as 10 percent. It is not on the state exchange for 2016, but is considering becoming a part of it in 2017.

Meanwhile, United Healthcare -- which has Health Plan of Nevada and Sierra Health and Life -- held a meeting this week and announced an increase of only 8.3 percent, on average, for 2016. That is an indicator that the rise in the state may well be less than double digits because Health Plan of Nevada was the least-expensive of any of the plans on the exchange in Washoe County in 2015.

To stay competitive with United Healthcare, the other providers will need a lesser increase and could even reduce their rates.

The next to announce will be Prominence on Sept. 9. Prominence bought out St. Mary’s last year and, consequently, raised rates.

St. Mary’s had been the lowest on the exchange for those in Carson City in 2014, but became the highest in terms of rates in 2015 as Prominence.

We are still waiting to hear from Nevada Health Co-Op and Anthem, the other providers that will be on the exchange in 2016.

Assurant pulled out of the major medical market in mid-July and will not be an option on the exchange in 2016.

Meanwhile, California’s rates are already in and its 4.0 percent average increase is even less than the 4.2 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. It noted that health insurance rates were going up by an average of 9.8 percent before the ACA kicked in, so it has managed to cut the increases by more than 50 percent.

What’s more, two new providers have come on board for California – including United Healthcare, which will service five under-served regions, including Northern California. Impacted will be counties above Sacramento and Placer Counties where United Healthcare will be an option in 2016.

All the other providers are staying on board. A second addition is Oscar Health, which will service Southern California only.

As for premiums in other states … some are fearing double-digit increases in states like New Hampshire, Florida and Michigan. So our folks should consider themselves fortunate.

The next open enrollment period will be from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016 – a period of 92 days. Affordable Healthcare Pros will be busy with our existing customers, but will also be open to signing up new customers during that timeframe. There is no cost for our services. It costs the same as doing it yourself, only you have us going to bat for you if there are problems.

Meanwhile, Affordable Healthcare Pros continues to sign up folks with life-changing events such as loss of insurance, marriage, divorce, a birth or death in the family, change of address or change of situation – becoming a citizen, gaining legal immigration status or release from incarceration.

If we can help, come see us at 2307 N. Carson St., Carson City or call us as 775-224-7169, 775-450-6769, 775-450-7754 or 775-450-6867. You can also call our office number of 775-883-3414.

Ron Bliss is a former long-time sports writer who has been writing health insurance since 2009. He is certified on both Covered California and the Nevada Health Link and can sell products separate from both exchanges. Affordable Healthcare Pros also offers a variety of dental plans to include dental-vision-hearing plans in both states, as well as a wide variety of Medicare supplements and other health supplement products to include accident, critical illness, short-term care and hospital indemnity policies.


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