The Conversation

Nevada Health Exchange is Still Not Working

The Silver State Health Exchange is still a mess and unable to enroll very many people. Those who do get through are mostly signing up for Medicaid.

Last month Breitbart News reported on serious problems with the site prior to launch. A follow up by the Las Vegas Journal Review finds any improvement since then has been slight. One broker tells the paper the exchange is "not worth the effort at all."

The exchange’s website, at nevadahealthlink.com, remains the biggest hurdle to the system’s success, brokers say. They report frequent error codes, frozen pages and unwieldy questionnaires — if they can get through at all. Several brokers said it can take two hours to complete a single application if tax credits are involved.

The glitchy website is not the only potential problem brokers are seeing. Like other states around the country, most of those using the site seem to be signing up for Medicaid rather than buying plans which would help the state pay for the coverage of other people:

Not everyone who manages to get new insurance through the exchange is buying private coverage, and that could create its own set of problems.

Randazzo said 80 percent of the calls he gets are from people eligible for the state’s newly expanded Medicaid program, which is for the first time accepting childless singles.

The problem with Medicaid enrollment is that brokers don’t get paid for guiding people into the program. Randazzo said he’s hired two additional people to help with the crush of enrollees, but if they’re mostly signing up for Medicaid, he may not be able to cover the added costs. Nor do Medicaid enrollees help fund the state exchange, which earns its revenue by charging 3 percent of premiums on private plans it sells.

As I noted yesterday, even in Kentucky where website glitches are not a factor Medicaid signs ups outnumber paying customers. And if you just look at young (under 35) paying customers, Medicaid sign ups outnumber them roughly 40:1.


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