Nevada’s health insurance marketplace adds thousands, but sign-ups still below forecasts

The state’s health insurance marketplace has added thousands of enrollees in recent weeks, though sign-ups remain well below forecasts.

A report from the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange found that by Saturday, 34,820 Nevadans had paid for a private, qualified health plan through the exchange’s Nevada Health Link website and call center. Another 11,912 consumers statewide had chosen a plan but not yet paid for it.

Also, enrollment in Nevada’s Medicaid program continued to dwarf sign-ups in private coverage. Nearly 148,000 Nevadans had signed up for Medicaid by May 3.

The exchange is more than halfway through a special sign-up period that ends May 30. The two-month period follows a six-month open session that ended March 31 with roughly 26,000 enrollments, falling short of the 118,000 sign-ups exchange officials had aimed for in the system’s first year.

The exchange board seems to have downgraded its expectations, though: On April 30, board members set the exchange’s 2015 budget based on 60,000 enrollments by the February end of the next open enrollment session.

The board will discuss the numbers in a meeting Thursday afternoon.

The board also continues to weigh options for improving the exchange’s website, which has struggled with technical issues. Board members may keep the current system and its contractor, Xerox; replace the system with software that has worked in other states; or join the federal exchange.

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