Nevada insurance officials to liquidate insurtech Friday Health Plans in September

Nevada insurance officials yesterday announced that they’ve decided to liquidate operations of the insurtech Friday Health Plans in that state, and presented timelines for the approximately 2,000 member Nevadans to find new coverage.

Of the seven states in which Friday operated, Nevada had been the last holdout in terms of giving the insurtech a chance to right its ship and keep members covered until the end of the year. The court-ordered liquidation date is Sept. 1.

Members can avoid a gap in coverage if they enroll in a new health plan by August 31. “Consumers who fail to enroll in a new health plan by this date will still have until Oct. 31, 2023, to purchase health insurance, but they may experience a gap in coverage,” the press release states.

Friday’s mission was to try to ease the way for individuals wanting to purchase coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. Katie Charleson, the communications officer for Nevada Health Link, said in the press release that “Nevada Health Link partners with six insurance carriers offering nearly 100 different qualified health plan options on, all plans cover the 10 essential health benefits.”

The press release warns providers to continue to treat all Friday members through Aug. 31, “and should not demand payment other than the proper cost share associated with the medical service and relevant health plan.”

Once in liquidation, provider claims for services performed on or before Aug. 31 will be addressed by the Nevada Life and Health Insurance Guaranty.

Providers not covering members until the liquidation date appears to be one of the main concerns of state insurance officials in all the states where the plan has been liquidated. When Colorado liquidated Friday plans earlier this month, Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway noted that some providers in that state had already stopped treating Friday members.

“It’s especially concerning because of the division’s efforts to make sure Friday Health became a member of the Colorado Guaranty Association in order to, in part, protect providers,” Conway said.

Ari Gottlieb, a principal at A2 Strategy Group and a nationally known healthcare strategist who’s closely followed the insurtech industry, told Fierce Healthcare that in every state that’s liquidated Friday Health Plans, “there are some issues with providers taking Friday members. What we’re seeing is state departments of insurance going out and saying to providers ‘Look, we will make you all of these guaranty associations that will step in and help, so continue to see these members.’ It’ll be a fight. I think that some providers may not want to serve these members, but they haven’t a choice.”

Friday Health Plans has been spiraling toward this end for over a year.

On Sept. 1, Friday Health Plans will no longer exist anywhere, says Gottlieb, “except in the minds of [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], health plan leaders, and state guaranty systems who will be counting how much Friday’s failure will cost the system, which will be hundreds of millions of dollars. In every state that they operated in, they’ve walked away with a trail of debt. At the end of the day, it potentially could be over half a billion dollars.”