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CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) – A major announcement from Nevada’s governor on Tuesday.

Governor Brian Sandoval announced that the Missouri-based Centene Corporation, also known as SilverSummit in Nevada, will be offering health insurance coverage to all Nevada residents including those living in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Eurekea, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey and White Pine on the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. The Exchange is Nevada’s state agency that helps people get budget-appropriate health coverage through the online marketplace, Nevada Health Link.

Earlier this month, the Division of Insurance announced that 14 of Nevada’s 17 counties would be without an Exchange health insurance option, which would have left 8,000 consumers in these counties without access to Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and federal subsidies beginning in January 2018.

“Access to quality, affordable healthcare should not be dependent on your zip code or county line. This announcement will ensure that more than 8,000 Nevadans will have the ability to exercise their option to utilize Nevada’s online marketplace and secure coverage for their families,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “This is a fantastic time to welcome SilverSummit to our healthcare market and express the state’s sincere gratitude for stepping up, partnering with Nevada’s own Hometown Health, and providing an insurance option for thousands of Nevadans.”

“We are grateful that SilverSummit has stepped up to the plate, offering relief to thousands of residents who thought they would be deprived of access to health insurance,” said Heather Korbulic, Executive Director for the Exchange. “Thanks to governor Sandoval’s tireless and unwavering commitment to ensuring access to healthcare for all Nevadans,  people throughout the state will have access to qualified health plans,” said Korbulic.

“We appreciate that such an experienced insurance carrier will be joining the Nevada Exchange,” said Barbara D. Richardson, Nevada insurance commissioner. “The Division continues to work with our state partners to explore long-term solutions for Nevada citizens.”

This is not the first time Centene has provided coverage in states where insurance carriers have left the marketplace due to uncertainty surrounding the administration’s objective to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In Missouri, Centene offers plans to 25 counties that were slated to have no insurers on its exchange in 2018. Centene’s updated rates for Nevada have not been announced yet.

The bare counties crisis was created when existing insurance carriers, Prominence and Anthem, both of which provided plans on the Exchange to rural counties, provided notice that they would pull out of the Exchange market entirely beginning in 2018. Since that announcement, state officials have worked to secure a carrier to provide an insurance option to the more than 8,000 rural Nevadans who depend on the Exchange for their insurance coverage. There are currently two insurance carriers planning to offer insurance options on the Exchange, Health Plan of Nevada and SilverSummit. SilverSummit is the only carrier at this time who will provide an insurance option in all of Nevada’s 17 counties. Health Plan of Nevada will provide an insurance option in Nye, Clark, and Washoe Counties.

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