Anthem pulls the plug on Clark, Nye, and Washoe counties | SierraSun.com

Anthem pulls the plug on Clark, Nye, and Washoe counties

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Anthem, a major provider of health insurance, is pulling out of the Nevada market pretty much altogether.
Anthem announced in late June that, in the 2018 plan year, it would only offer qualified health plans through the exchange in Clark, Nye, and Washoe counties. The company said it was no longer offering qualified health plans in Nevada's other 14 other counties, including Carson City.
That left consumers in those 14 counties with no access to health insurance through the exchange.
Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson said Monday, Aug. 7, the company has now gone a step farther, serving notice it is withdrawing from the exchange and will no longer offer plans in Clark, Washoe, and Nye either.
She said that means Anthem will only offer only the so-called "catastrophic plans" designed for healthy people under age 30 with a low income.
She said Anthem did that after offering health plans in Clark, Washoe, and Nye counties calling for an average 62 percent rate increase.
Gov. Brian Sandoval was troubled by the decision from Anthem.
"I am frustrated and disappointed with Anthem's surprise and abrupt decision to leave the health care exchange especially during uncertain times," Sandoval said.
He pointed out that Washoe, Clark, and Nye county residents swill have two providers available through the exchange.
"My office is in regular contact with the two remaining providers in order to ensure there will continue to be options for the more than 80,000 Nevadans, who purchase insurance through the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange," he said.
He and Richardson said they will continue to work to find insurance carriers willing to serve all Nevada counties, including the 14 counties that no longer have access to any qualified health insurance plan.
Insurance Division spokesman Yeraldin Deavila said Silver Summit Health Plan and Health Plan of Nevada are still on the Silver State Exchange but that they only offer plans in Clark, Washoe, and Nye counties.
She said the division is working with Sandoval's office and the exchange to try find new insurance companies willing to serve all of Nevada.
Richardson said the announcement was made immediately to let the Nevada public know about Anthem's decision.
Richardson said she and her staff "remain optimistic that there will be coverage for consumers on the exchange throughout the state."
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, however, took a much more aggressive tone in her response, charging that, after receiving preferential treatment to become a Nevada Medicaid manager, the company "has decided to break its commitment to Nevada, leaving thousands of Nevadans with disrupted health care services."
She referred to the decision as unscrupulous conduct that, "demonstrates they will seek any opportunity to put profits over the health and well-being of the thousands of Nevadans who rely on them."