Open enrollment begins, coming off record year for health exchange participation

By: - November 1, 2023 1:04 pm

The cheaper the premium the higher the deductible. (Photo: Peter Dazely, Getty Images)

Open enrollment for individual health insurance plans started on Nov. 1 and runs through January 15, 2024, with a continuation of more generous eligibility requirements and enhanced subsidies that helped drive the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange to record enrollment last year. 

Consumers can analyze and compare plans offered on the exchange at NevadaHealthLink.com.

The most popular plan in Nevada’s individual market exchange is the Silver plan, a mid-tier plan where the consumer will pay about 30% of medical costs once the deductible has been met. Roughly 57% of individuals in the exchange enrolled in the Silver plan during the enrollment period a year ago, said Silver State Health Insurance Exchange spokeswoman Katie Charleson. 

Silver plans have deductibles of around $4,890, according to KFF, a non-profit foundation that does research, journalism, and communications programs on health care.

Most of the rest of Nevadans on the exchange, 39%, enrolled in the Bronze plan, the second cheapest plan offered, where consumers pay 40% of medical costs after their deductible is met, Charleson said. Bronze plans carry deductibles of upwards of $7,000, according to KFF. 

A separate KFF report explained that while Bronze and Silver plans allow more people to get health care, the plans do not shield people from medical debt. Lower premiums are more affordable, but have higher co-pays and deductibles, and “when cost-sharing under health insurance exceeds the ability of consumers to pay their medical bills, cases of health-related bankruptcy and credit problems are inevitable,” the KFF report noted.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) continued to expand eligibility requirements and enhanced marketplace subsidies enacted under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) until 2025.

Last year, in part due to the program expansions under the ARPA and continued under the IRA, Nevada Health Link had the highest enrollment ever, when more than 101,000 Nevadans enrolled in plans offered by the exchange. The exchange was initially established more than a decade ago under the Affordable Care Act during the Obama administration.

The monthly payment, or premium, varies depending on the level of plan purchased. But the cheaper the premium the higher the deductible, or the amount the policyholder needs to pay before the insurance company will pay a claim. 

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Camalot Todd
Camalot Todd

An award-winning, investigative and enterprise reporter, Camalot Todd has over seven years experience in print, digital, radio and TV journalism.