The Nevada Division of Insurance has received and made public the proposed health insurance rate changes from carriers on and off the Exchange for Plan Year 2019.

Based on the rate submissions the Division has received for 2019 plans, there will be two insurance companies offering plans on the Exchange with up to 15 individual health plans to choose from. The average proposed rate change for the individual market on Exchange is an increase of 1.9%

“This is the lowest proposed rate increase the Division has received since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” explained Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson. “The Division is working diligently reviewing these requests from carriers. We always caution that these proposed rates are subject to change depending on any new federal decisions that are made.”

“I am pleased with the initial proposed rate changes from insurance carriers as this is great news for Nevadans,” Governor Brian Sandoval said. “Even though there has been uncertainty in the past, these proposed filings reflect the hard work the Silver State has done to try and stabilize the health insurance market for its citizens.”

For the off-exchange market, there will be four insurance companies offering up to 41 individual health plans to choose from with an average proposed rate change of 3.1%

The Division encourages consumers to review these rate changes and submit their comments to the Division during this rate review process.

Approved rates will be posted on October 2, 2018.

More than 91,000 Nevadans get their health insurance through healthcare.gov, but they will likely have a new method of enrolling in a program through the state by 2020. Silver State Health Insurance Exchange says a state-based approach is more efficient and less-expensive. The projected cost to use Healthcare.gov in 2020 is $12 million. A five-year contract with GetInsured would cut that cost to about $5 million.

"It's going to save a significant amount of savings," Heather Korbulic, Executive Director for Silver State Health Insurance Exchange said. "About 50% of the cost that we anticipate spending on healthcare.gov will be saved."

The exchange collects 3.15% of the gross premium amount from insurance carriers. Those fees are used to pay operating costs, including the use of healthcare.gov. 

"Hopefully, we'll be able to pass those along. Basically, what we're able to do is remain solvent at our current rate rather than taking our rate up to an exorbitant cost."

Open enrollment for the new program will begin October 1, 2019, through Nevada Health Link. The website will go live one month earlier though, giving people a chance to login and search for insurance plans.

Nevada had a state-based insurance exchange program before but Korbulic says there were many connections within the system that were not always effective. The technology is different now, and she expects a far better experience this time.

"We made sure to identify in our RFP process where those touch points were and where those pain areas were and assured ourselves that those have been resolved through functional technology in other states," Korbulic said.

Twelve states use their own exchange programs and six of them use GetInsured, including Idaho.

"Idaho is the first state to transition away from healthcare.gov onto their own state-based marketplace," Korbulic said. "So they have a track record of doing exactly what we're looking for them to do with us."

Korbulic says the system will be more efficient because using healthcare.gov because the state currently shares responsibilities with the federal program. She says this would streamline the process and give Silver State Health Insurance Exchange more flexibility.

"Right now, we don't have access to the back end of healthcare.gov, so we can't fully resolve a consumer's complaint or their issue," Korbulic said. "I think we'll be able to find efficiencies in problem-solving for consumers on the front end so they don't even ever have to experience that technical issue."

The proposal still needs final approval from the governor, secretary of state and attorney general, next month.

"The cost savings and the ability for us to really control our own destiny is a pretty well-founded argument for making this move," Korbulic said.

The change would also require additional employees to take on the responsibilities that are currently handled by healthcare.gov but the cost is still expected to be low.

Consumers will still enroll for a 2019 plan with healthcare.gov but they would use nevadahealthlink.com in future years. 

Korbulic says there will likely be a drop-off in consumers next year because the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act was lifted. The biggest group would probably be people in the age range of 27-45.

"The exchange's job is to make sure that they're educated and understand that going without insurance is really risky for yourself and your family and it could land you in a bankruptcy," Korbulic said.

(Nevada Division of Insurance contributed to this report.)