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Nevada may extend enrollment period

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The managers of Nevada’s state-based public exchange are considering extending open enrollment for individual commercial coverage past March 31.

The staff of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange presented “special enrollment period” proposals at a board meeting late last week.

The board, which runs the Nevada Health Link exchange, has been open about streaming video of its meetings, posting videos of its meetings on its site, and posting comprehensive information about its activities – including vendor contract performance reports – on the Web.

The board also posted many complaints about the exchange enrollment system and call center from consumers, brokers, nonprofit assisters and qualified health plan issuer executives on the Web.

Nevada exchange staffers note in a special enrollment period proposal analysis that federal officials recently told exchange managers that they can cope with plan enrollment problems by offering consumers access to retroactive coverage.

Federal regulations require exchanges to offer special enrollment periods when consumers face a variety of unusual circumstances, such as the birth of children, an unintentional failure to enroll in a QHP, or “other exceptional circumstances,” staffers say.

The board could declare that exchange enrollment problems have created special circumstances and offer residents of the state a 60-day special enrollment period, with the period starting on any date up to 60 days after the special circumstances declaration data, staffers say.

The staffers note that one disadvantage is that the special enrollment period could throw off plan actuarial projections by helping consumers who had no intention of buying coverage and now have faced a “traumatic event” a chance to buy coverage.

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