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Sandoval working to get Obamacare insurance throughout Nevada

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday that the state is “diligently working” to ensure that 14 rural Nevada counties will have health insurance coverage options through the state-based exchange in 2018.

In June, that state got word that no carriers will provide coverage to 14 Nevada counties through the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, which provides health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act. Those carriers cited uncertainties in the market as reasons to forgo the Nevada counties next year.

Health Plan of Nevada and Silver Summit plan to provide coverage through the exchange in 2018 in Clark, Washoe and Nye counties. Sandoval said he has “personally called” the chief executive officer of one insurance company in hopes of getting one to agree to statewide coverage.

“We are diligently working right now to ensure that there will be coverage in all 17 counties on the exchange,” Sandoval told the Review-Journal.

“We’re engaged on a daily basis,” he said.

The governor declined to say which insurance carrier he called.

More than 8,000 Nevadans in the impacted counties rely on the exchange for coverage. Overall, 89,061 Nevadans get exchange-based insurance coverage.

Carriers have until Sept. 20 to revise their 2018 plans, which gives state officials time for negotiating with the carriers.

Sandoval’s comments came one day after the state announced that Anthem is leaving the state exchange altogether in 2018.

Earlier in the summer, the carrier had initially indicated to the state it was only pulling out of the rural counties, but staying in Clark, Washoe and Nye counties.

Sandoval said he’s disappointed in their decision.

“My door’s always open to talk to them,” he said. “My understanding and impression is that they’ve made an absolute decision to leave the state.”

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

Review-Journal reporter Sean Whaley contributed to this report.

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