by April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current
February 1, 2023
The Las Vegas Strip’s newest resort is one of the largest employers of Medicaid recipients in the state, according to a new report from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
Amazon, Walmart, Clark County School District and Smith’s top the list of employers with the most full-time employees eligible for Nevada Medicaid. All four have been mainstays of the annual report since the state began publishing the data five years ago. But this year, Resorts World, which opened in June 2021, joined them to round out the top five.
In total, the state found that for the most recent fiscal year, approximately 152,000 employees at businesses that employ more than 50 people were covered by Medicaid. An additional 177,000 dependents of those employees are also covered.
Coverage for those approximately 330,000 Nevadans cost $1.2 billion in the last fiscal year.
Amazon, which operates a number of “fulfillment centers” in the state, has been the top employer of Nevada Medicaid recipients for the past three years. Prior to that, it was second, behind only Walmart. In the last fiscal year, the company employed 6,970 Medicaid recipients. Another 14,546 people are dependents of those employees and covered by Medicaid. The costs to the public: $52.9 million.
WalMart came in second with 4,539 employees and 9,805 dependents on Medicaid.
Resorts World opened in June 2021 and marked the first new Strip resort opening since the Cosmopolitan in 2010. Resorts World said immediately prior to opening that it had 6,000 positions to fill and had received more than 100,000 applications.
According to the DHHS Medicaid employer report, 1,060 of Resort World employees and 2,132 of their dependents were on Medicaid. The cost of insuring them: $8.2 million.
Resorts World was one of three gaming companies to appear in the top 10. Wynn Las Vegas ranked immediately behind them at sixth, with 1,001 employees (and 2,182 dependents) enrolled. Wynn has also been a regular on the list, appearing in the top 10 four of the last five years, dropping off only for the fiscal year that included mass layoffs in the gaming and hospitality industries.
Aria ranked 10th with 744 employees (and 909 dependents) enrolled. That company has appeared in the top 10 once before — also 10th.
Also appearing in the top 10 were Telus International, Sitel Operating Corporation and the State of Nevada. Telus and Sitel are both “customer experience” companies that operate call centers in Southern Nevada.
Here is the complete top 10 Nevada employers with employees on Medicaid. These 10 companies represent 13% of the total Medicaid cost.
DHHS notes that 46% of the Medicaid-enrolled employees covered in the report made above the equivalent of Nevada’s May 2021 median wage, which was $18.22 an hour.
Nevada offers Medicaid for people living up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which varies depending on the number of people living in a household. According to Nevada HealthLink, that works out to $16,753 per year for an individual, or $34,638 per year for a family of four.
The state’s Medicaid employer report comes with a few important caveats, the first being that as part of the federally designed public health emergency, states were severely restricted from unenrolling people from Medicaid. That means that “an unknown portion” of the Medicaid recipients included within this year’s report might otherwise be currently ineligible but are considered eligible due to the public health emergency.
That designation's scheduled expiration in April and is likely to bring a drop in Medicaid enrollment statewide.
Also important to note is that the report lists and ranks companies by the raw number of employees and dependents it has enrolled in Medicaid, meaning it does not factor in the total number of employees each individual company has. The exact number of employees each business has is not public information.
Some individuals may also be duplicated, if they switched from one large employer to another.
Nevada DHHS is required to compile and make available the annual report. The requirement was set by lawmakers in a 2017 bill sponsored by then-state Sen. Yvanna Cancela.