(Image: Nevada Health Link)

The agency that runs Nevada’s Nevada Health Link health insurance exchange wants to cut the HealthCare.gov cord and move to a private exchange platform by Nov. 1, 2019.

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange originally tried to set up Nevada Health Link as a state-based, state-run Affordable Care Act public exchange.

The agency had trouble getting its web-based exchange systems to work properly during the first two years of operation. The agency still has its own exchange website, but the site uses HealthCare.gov to handle account setup and administration services for its exchange.

(Related: Poor Children Face Losing Health Care as Congress Bides Its Time)

Silver State exchange officials have complained over two years that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency in charge of HealthCare.gov, has been charging too much for access to HealthCare.gov and cutting back on services.

This year, for example, CMS has set the individual major medical open enrollment period in HealthCare.gov to run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

In the past few years, the HealthCare.gov open enrollment period lasted from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31 in most of the country.

Silver State exchange officials say in a new fiscal and operational report that they hope to start soliciting private exchange platform bids in March.

Officials are hoping that work on moving Nevada Health Link to the private platform by August.

Officials are estimating that using a private exchange platform will cost $5.8 million per year.

The shift should cut total Nevada exchange platform spending by about $5 million to $6 million per year, by cutting down on HealthCare.gov user fee bills, officials say.

“This saving could be passed along to the carriers by reducing the carrier premium fee,” officials say.

Elsewhere in the report, exchange officials say they addressed a drop in broker interest in Nevada Health Link by providing three $10,000 grants for brokers.

The brokers used the grants to set up sales and support offices in retail locations, officials say.

“The three awardees have been extremely busy with enrollments and have indicated the grant allowed them to hire additional employees to service consumers, have a more robust outreach and marketing program, and improve office efficiencies to allw for more consumers to enroll in [exchange plans] faster,” officials say.

The exchange will decide later, when they have more information, whether sales volume justifies continuing the broker grant program, officials say.

—Read Republicans: Are ACA Exchange Plans Good for Kids? on ThinkAdvisor.


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