Nevada has become the latest state to scrap its crippled Obamacare exchange and join the federal HealthCare.gov for at least a year.
The Silver State, which had seemed to start strong last October before smashing into a wall of technical problems, is the only state with a Republican governor that ran its own health insurance exchange in 2014. Gov. Brian Sandoval had argued that it was important for his state to steer its own exchange, even though he opposed Obamacare.
But the Nevada exchange board decided Tuesday that its effort couldn’t be salvaged in time for the 2015 enrollment season that starts in November. Nevada becomes the fourth state to admit its enrollment system, which cost tens of millions of dollars, is beyond repair and move to replace it with a substantially new one.
The board of the exchange, known as Nevada Health Link, voted unanimously to end its relationship with Xerox, the vendor that had received a $75 million contract to build the online enrollment portal. Instead, it will fold into HealthCare.gov.
“We’ve seen so many broken promises from Xerox on how they’re going to fix it that at some point it just becomes not credible,” said Marie Martin Kerr, a member of the board appointed by Sandoval.
Board members left the door open to retaking control of Nevada’s exchange after 2015 but emphasized that they can lean on HealthCare.gov as long as they choose.
Like Nevada, Oregon and Massachusetts took steps to join the federal exchange in recent weeks. Maryland, too, scrapped its system but opted to borrow Connecticut’s technology to salvage a state-run system. It’s unclear if the Obama administration will approve that decision.