Nevada exchange fees to increase in 2015


CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevadans who purchase health insurance through the state exchange will pay more in monthly fees next year to sustain the program.

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board on Thursday narrowed its options to three pricing scenarios based on projected enrollments in 2015.

Currently, each medical policy purchased on the exchange carries a $4.95 monthly charge. But that fee will nearly double if not triple in 2015, depending on a final enrollment projection the board decides on when it meets next month.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The financial viability of Nevada's health insurance exchange was under the microscope Thursday as the board overseeing operations was set to consider potential fees to cover next year's operating costs.

There are a lot of elements in play, and each carries a price tag — enrollment numbers, marketing, billing options and continuing enrollment assistants.

Depending on how the board decides to proceed, monthly fees could skyrocket. First-year operations were paid with federal grants. But beginning in 2015, state exchanges must be self-reliant, and Gov. Brian Sandoval has said he will not use general fund sources to support it.

This year consumers who purchased medical plans are paying $4.95 per month, per policy.

One big unknown is projected enrollments, which have fallen woefully short. More people signing up means a smaller monthly fee in 2015.

Fixed costs for staff, rent and general office operations are estimated at $4.7 million for the upcoming year.

A report released Thursday shows a potential breakdown of the monthly fees necessary, based on enrollment, to meet those costs, as well as the optional programs.

Only about 22,000 people have so far signed up through the exchange.

If projected enrollments are set at 25,000 for 2015, monthly fees would have to jump to $11.17 per policy just to cover basic operating expenses. That figure drops to $7.44 if enrollment reaches 100,000.

The board Thursday also will hear an update from Xerox on its plans to manage a 60-day special enrollment period approved to allow people stuck in the exchange process more time to complete their enrollments beyond the March 31 deadline.

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