More Nevadans Sign Up for Affordable Care Act Health Insurance, Despite Legislation’s Uncertain Future

Roughly 89,000 Nevadans signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange for 2017, about 900 more than in the previous year.

The jump occurred amid uncertainty over the fate of the legislation and ran counter to a national downturn in enrollments.

Data released Friday by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services showed 89,061 Nevadans chose exchange plans this year, compared with 88,145 for the 2016 plan year.

Nevada’s ACA marketplace, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said it was proud of the enrollment figures despite a “turbulent period of uncertainty surrounding the future” of the health care law. The comment was a reference to efforts by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to repeal and replace the act.

The exchange said it attracted 29,000 new consumers while maintaining about 70 percent of its existing clientele.

“While there continues to be discussions about the new administration’s goals for the ACA, this year’s enrollment results, and our strength by the numbers year-over-year, demonstrate the overwhelming number of Nevadans who continue to recognize the importance of being properly covered,” Heather Korbulic, executive director of the exchange, said in a news release.

Nationwide, enrollment in states that use the platform reached about 9.2 million, a drop of more than 420,000 people over last year. That’s about a 4.4 percent decline.

Nevada is one of 39 states that uses for enrollment purposes.

Numbers for states that don’t use the website weren’t released Friday, giving an incomplete picture of overall enrollment.

Some ACA supporters blamed the Trump administration for the enrollment drop, saying the administration temporarily halted advertising of exchange plans shortly before the Jan. 31 enrollment deadline.

Numbers from 2016 also included individuals who left messages through the call center before the Jan. 31 enrollment deadline and were allowed to select a plan on Feb. 1. Those individuals weren’t included in the 2017 report.

Enrollment has jumped every year so far in Nevada since the marketplace launched in 2013, but the numbers this year also show the lowest year-over-year growth yet. Previously enrollment leaped from about 32,000 enrollees in 2014 to about 75,000 enrollees in 2015 before hitting 88,145 last year.

Nationally, Congressional Republicans have made moves to repeal the ACA, also referred to as Obamacare, and several replacement plans have been proposed.

But there’s been no consensus on a sufficient replacement by party leaders.

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