Nevada Becomes Second State With Public Health Insurance Option With Governor OK

Nevada Becomes Second State With Public Health Insurance Option With Governor OK

Dive Insight: With a public option unlikely to gain traction in a closely divided Congress, action has shifted to the states. 

Besides Nevada, Washington is the only other state to enact a public option insurance plan, though a handful of others are interested in creating an affordable health plan option for residents ineligible for Medicaid but unable to afford a marketplace plan. Insurance under Washington’s option went live this year. The insurance lobby is strongly opposed to a public option and previously expressed concern over Nevada’s plan via an opposition letter dated May 3 addressed to Cannizzaro and the state’s Health and Human Services Committee.

President Joseph Biden is a proponent of a public option instead of the more disruptive “Medicare for All” proposal, which would dismantle the Affordable Care Act Biden helped usher in under former President Barack Obama a decade ago. Still, Biden left a public option out of his recent $7 trillion budget proposal. Trade group AHIP took aim at the way in which the bill requires premiums for the public option plan to be lower than certain competitive plans on the exchange. AHIP characterized it as arbitrary “government rate setting.”

Medicaid MCOs must submit a “good faith proposal,” in response to an eventual RFP. Currently there are three Medicaid MCOs in the state of Nevada: Centene, UnitedHealthcare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Coverage under Nevada’s plan won’t begin until 2026 as the state seeks a waiver from the federal government to enact the plan and capture the savings it could generate for the federal government.

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