The agency that runs Nevada's Nevada Health Link healthinsurance exchange wants to cut the HealthCare.gov cord and move to a privateexchange platform by Nov. 1, 2019.

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The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange originally tried toset up Nevada Health Link as a state-based, state-run AffordableCare Act public exchange.

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The agency had trouble getting its web-based exchange systems towork properly during the first two years of operation. The agencystill has its own exchange website, but the site usesHealthCare.gov to handle account setup and administration servicesfor its exchange.

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

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This year, for example, CMS has set the individual major medicalopen enrollment period in HealthCare.gov to run from Nov. 1 throughDec. 15.

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

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

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

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

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

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"This saving could be passed along to the carriers by reducingthe carrier premium fee," officials say.

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

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

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"The three awardees have been extremely busy with enrollmentsand have indicated the grant allowed them to hire additionalemployees to service consumers, have a more robust outreach andmarketing program, and improve office efficiencies to allw for moreconsumers to enroll in [exchange plans] faster," officials say.

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The exchange will decide later, when they have moreinformation, whether sales volume justifies continuing thebroker grant program, officials say.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.