by Connie McMullen
Governor Brian Sandoval announced that the Missouri-based Centene Corporation, also known as SilverSummit in Nevada, will be offering health insurance coverage to all Nevada residents including those living in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey and White Pine on the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange). The Exchange is Nevada’s state agency that helps individuals obtain budget-appropriate health coverage through the online marketplace, Nevada Health Link. Earlier this month, the Division of Insurance announced that 14 of Nevada’s 17 counties would be without an Exchange health insurance option, which would have left 8,000 consumers in these counties without access to Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and federal subsidies beginning in January 2018.
“Access to quality, affordable healthcare should not be dependent on your zip code or county line. The announcement will ensure that more than 8,000 Nevadans will have the ability to exercise their option to utilize Nevada’s online marketplace and secure coverage for their families,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “This is a fantastic time to welcome SilverSummit to our healthcare market and express the state’s sincere gratitude for stepping up, partnering with Nevada’s own Hometown Health, and providing an insurance option for thousands of Nevadans.”
"We are grateful that SilverSummit has stepped up to the plate, offering relief to thousands of residents who thought they would be deprived of access to health insurance," said Heather Korbulic, executive director for the Exchange. "Thanks to Governor Sandoval’s tireless and unwavering commitment to ensuring access to healthcare for all Nevadans, individuals throughout the state will have access to qualified health plans.”
“The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange was in Crisis,” said Mike Willden, Nevada’s Chief of Staff to the Governor. Willden made the statement at the Senior Coalition of Washoe County, saying the state had been informed that Atnea and Anthem have both dropped out of the program, leaving Health Plan of Nevada and Centine to provide insurance coverage in the more populated areas of Washoe, Clark and Nye counties beginning in 2018. Anthem also announced it was pulling out of the state Medicaid program.
This is not the first time Centene has provided coverage in states where insurance carriers have left the marketplace due to uncertainty surrounding the administration's objective to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In Missouri, Centene offers plans in 25 counties that were slated to have no insurers on its exchange in 2018.
SilverSummit is the only carrier at this time who will provide an insurance option in all of Nevada’s 17 counties. Health Plan of Nevada will provide an insurance option in Nye, Clark, and Washoe Counties. Centene's updated rates for Nevada have yet to be announced.
The Exchange was established per Nevada Revised Statues (NRS) in 2011 by the State of Nevada, and operations began in 2013, on the belief that all Nevadans deserve access to health insurance.