Deal will provide health insurance in all Nevada counties |

Deal will provide health insurance in all Nevada counties

Geoff Dornan

SILVER SPRINGS — Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday announced a partnership between Silver Summit Healthcare and Nevada’s Hometown Health to provide insurance plans to residents of all 17 Nevada counties.

“There will be no Nevada counties without healthcare insurance options in the state of Nevada,” he told a crowd of more than 50 outside Renown’s clinic in Silver Springs.

The availability of health insurance became a critical issue this summer after first Prominence then Aetna announced they would no longer offer qualified health insurance plans through the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. That was followed in recent weeks by the withdrawal of Anthem, which left 14 Nevada counties completely without an available health insurance provider.

“It was inconceivable to me that we would not have healthcare coverage in 14 counties,” Sandoval said.

Anthem followed that by withdrawing from the remaining three Nevada counties — Clark, Washoe and Nye — after the Insurance Division rejected its application to raise rates in those three counties by 62 percent.

But after several weeks of negotiations, Sandoval said Silver Summit, a division of Missouri-based Centene Corp., and Hometown Health, the not for profit insurance arm of Renown Health, agreed to step forward and put together a plan.

Mike Willden, Sandoval’s chief of staff, said there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome — in particular working out the prices for different plans. But he said he’s assured they will be able to develop plans by the time open enrollment starts in November people can actually afford. Garrett Leaf of Silver Summit offered the same assurance saying they would offer products that would fit a variety of different needs.

Ty Winfeldt, CEO of Hometown Health, said the key to making the deal work is the partnership allowing Silver Summit access to Hometown Health’s existing provider network.

Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, an family practice doctor who serves rural Lyon County, said that agreement is critical to providers including herself.

She said it means doctors and other providers won’t have to go through the process of being credentialed by Silver Summit as part of the network.

“For providers it’s music to my ears,” she said adding it means there will be no delay in providing care to insured patients once Silver Summit opens for business Jan. 1.

“Credentialing takes a long time,” she said.

She said access to Hometown Health’s network is critical because both rural and urban doctors often need to refer patients to a specialist and that network provides access to those specialists.

Willden said the rates will be finalized Sept. 5 so everyone knows what is available and at what price.

“We’re not down to the finish line yet,” he said.

Sandoval said the deal at least ensures health insurance will be available to Nevadans but that doesn’t resolve the issues causing major problems with the industry at the national level.

“The uncertainty is really troubling to (insurance) providers out there,” he said.