Nevada insurance exchange looks to extended enrollment to boost numbers

With a key deadline in sight, the state insurance exchange is looking ahead to its next steps.

The board of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange met Thursday for the final time before Monday’s cutoff for consumers to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Their agenda focused on ways to finish sign-ups through the exchange’s Nevada Health Link website, and how to improve the system before the next open enrollment session begins in November.

The work will begin Tuesday, when exchange contractor Xerox launches consumer-outreach efforts for its special enrollment session.

Xerox officials told the board that they’ve identified about 77,000 people they’ll target during special enrollment, which runs through May 30. Consumers eligible to sign up then include people who have selected an exchange plan but not paid for it, as well as people who qualified through the exchange for a federal premium subsidy but who have not bought a plan.

Company officials said they believe they could convert about 57,000 of the 77,000 targeted consumers into actual enrollees.

Some board members were skeptical. Technical difficulties have held paid enrollment to 23,000 in the last six months, and Vice Chairwoman Lynn Etkins said she didn’t know if Xerox had patched the website’s glitches enough to meet special-enrollment goals.

“All of these numbers are predicated on the website working,” Etkins said. “We’re hearing today in public comments that people are still having challenges. We’re still hearing it from brokers.”

Xerox Vice President Greg Vitiello acknowledged there are still sign-up issues, but said the company has made progress fixing the problems.

“We’ve heard from brokers and navigators that other people are able to get through the process from beginning to end without issues,” Vitiello said.

The board also asked Xerox to return on April 10 with more details on how it will deploy insurance brokers during special enrollment.

Xerox will have to plan a new billing processes, as well.

The exchange board agreed that it’s time to look at ending premium aggregation, which has Xerox, rather than insurance carriers, handling customer premium invoices.

Premium aggregation has caused coverage issues because Xerox has had trouble forwarding payment information to insurers.

The board directed Xerox to create a pilot program with one carrier to test the transition from exchange billing to insurer-based invoicing.

Xerox said it will outline a pilot program and transition schedule for the board on April 10.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.