Ron Bliss: Nevadans will continue to use federal marketplace for health insurance in 2017

Once again, Nevadans will use the Federal Marketplace for their subsidized health insurance in 2017.

Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Executive Director Bruce Gilbert confirmed that in an address before the Northern Nevada Association of Health Underwriters at The Atlantis in Reno this past Wednesday.

“We are looking at other options for 2018 and beyond, but we will use the federal exchange again in 2017,’’ said Gilbert, who also confirmed that the same three providers who were on the exchange for 2016 – Prominence, United Healthcare and Anthem – have committed to also be on the exchange in 2017.

Gilbert told the NNAHU that it will once again depend on brokers to enroll Nevadans as opposed to use of navigators.

“We have faith in the brokers,’’ said Gilbert. “We feel they did a very good job. Our enrollment increased by almost 20 percent – among the best in the nation. We worked to develop and publicize broker events, but things didn’t go perfectly. They didn’t work the way we wanted them to. We will spend time to review and find ways to make the broker events better.’’

Gilbert doesn’t expect wholesale changes in Affordable Care Act – despite “a lot of quacking going on out there.’’

Said Gilbert: “To come up with a plan to replace this would take years to accomplish. A big part of the ACA was the expansion of Medicaid and over 30 states expanded Medicaid – many with Republican governors like we have in Nevada. You don’t repeal and replace the ACA without having extensive problems.’’

Some 20 million uninsured individuals have gained coverage in the U.S., under the law that began in 2014. “That’s a lot of voters,’’ said Gilbert.

Gilbert also said the fact some providers have stopped paying commissions for sales by brokers was a concern and one the exchange expects to address. California has already promised brokers in that state that any provider on the exchange would be obligated to pay commissions for sales during special enrollment periods as well as open enrollment next year. Some, principally Anthem, have stopped paying commissions for sales outside of open enrollment. United Healthcare, in Nevada, has stopped paying commissions outside of open enrollment, as well, this year for policies on the exchange. It continues to pay commissions for policies off the exchange. Only Prominence has continued to pay the brokers commissions for sales on and off the exchange outside of open enrollment.

“The argument for paying the brokers is that broker commissions were part of the initial cost when the providers set their rates,’’ said Gilbert.

Affordable Healthcare Pros continue to enroll individuals for healthcare, both on and off the exchange. We also provide help with Medicare to include help with Part D drug plans for those new to Medicare. We have a choice of nine different companies offering supplements, plus helping get enrolled in Medicare Advantage for those who cannot afford a supplement.

Come see us at 2307 N. Carson Street in Carson City or call us at 775-883-3414 or one of the below numbers for assistance. Our services are free of charge.

Ron Bliss is an agent with Affordable Healthcare Pros in Carson City and is certified on both the Nevada Health Link and Covered California. He can do policies for individuals and their families both on and offer both exchanges. Affordable Healthcare Pros also offers a wide array of other health insurance products to include Medicare supplements from nine different companies, dental-vision-hearing insurance and supplemental, catastrophic and disability insurance plans. He can be reached at 775-224-7169 or 775-450-6769. You can also call 775-338-3647 or 775-450-6867.


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