CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The board overseeing Nevada's health insurance exchange approved fees Thursday designed to make the program self-sustaining by 2015 when federal support expires.
"Obviously, the fees will be passed on to the consumer," Jon Hager, executive director of Silver State Exchange, told board members. He added, "If we didn't do this we would have to get money from somewhere else."
Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed and state lawmakers in 2011 approved the exchange, which is called for under the federal Affordable Care Act. But Sandoval has said he will not use general fund money for its support and that it must be self-sufficient to continue.
States were given the option to develop their own exchanges or sign on to one run by the federal government. The goal is to help individuals and small businesses find health coverage by making it easier for them to compare policies and prices.
Hager said the 2014 state exchange rate amounts to 1.7 percent of average premiums costs in 2011. In comparison, he said the federal exchange rate is 3.5 percent. The percentage difference will save Nevada consumers about $3.2 million, he said.
While the federal government is picking up most of the costs for first year in 2014, an estimated $10 million, the fees will help build up reserves to run the program when federal funding expires.
Health insurance plans that don't include dental coverage will be charged $4.95 per month. Those that include dental will be assessed $5.31, while the fee for stand-alone dental coverage will be 36 cents.