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NV’s request for insurance public option passes first fed test; application deemed complete

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Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
February 13, 2024

On Monday, the United States Department of the Treasury and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a 30-day public comment period after determining that the waiver application needed to assess Nevada’s health insurance public option was complete. 

Legislation enacted in 2021 created a public health care option that the State of Nevada would administer through contracts that insurance companies bid for. The public option would require health care premium rates for the public option to be at least 15% lower over the next four years than plans on the state health insurance option. The public option premiums must be 5% lower than the reference Bronze, Silver, and Gold plan premiums, by zip code.

Gov. Joe Lombardo, who opposes the public option, announced in October that he intended to “transform the Nevada Public Option into a Market Stabilization Program,” and instead prioritize federal funds made available through the federal waiver to finance a reinsurance program for private companies operating in the individual market. 

In its Jan. 1 application addressed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services noted the application covers “implementation of a Public Option and the establishment and financing of a Market Stabilization Program.” 

“Both the Public Option health plans, called ‘Battle Born State Plans’ (BBSPs), and the Market Stabilization Program,” said the state’s letter to Yellen and Becerra, “will be implemented upon the approval of this waiver application, and represent new initiatives aimed at improving access to and affordability of health care while ensuring a healthy and stable marketplace for those who purchase insurance through the individual health insurance market.”

Nevada’s public option “will ultimately control health care costs by reducing premiums in the health insurance marketplace and generating federal savings on premium tax credits,” the state’s waiver request said.

The public comment period ends on March 14. To submit a public comment, email stateinnovationwaivers@cms.hhs.gov. 

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This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.