Rumors about Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) being repealed or defunded are false. Aspects of the law are already in effect and the provision to provide health insurance to millions of uninsured citizens will take effect during the last quarter of 2013. In Nevada, 588,000 (25% of the population) people under the age of 65 do not have health insurance.
Silver State Health Insurance Exchange
The State of Nevada has set up the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). To his credit, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval decided to create the exchange under state control rather than refusing (as several other governors have done) and leaving it to the federal government to implement and operate the exchange for Nevadans. Enrollment in the exchange begins on October 1, 2013, with health insurance coverage taking effect on January 1, 2014.
Those who already have health insurance through their employer or with a federal program such as Medicare are not required to purchase additional insurance through the exchange.
Nevada Health Link
Nevada Health Link is the place where you actually shop for, compare, and buy your health insurance. This website is part of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.
In addition to being a "shopping center" for health insurance from several different companies, Nevada Health Link includes tools to help choose the right plan for your family and circumstances. Nevada Health Link can provide you with tax credits and subsidies to help cover the cost of your insurance. For example, a federal tax credit to help offset the premium is available for individuals making up to $45,960 and for a family of four making up to $94,200, if insurance is purchased through Nevada Health Link.
A separate section of Nevada Health Link - SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) - is available for employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees.
How Much Will It Cost?
There are four companies offering health insurance coverage through Nevada Health Link, with rates approved by the Nevada Division of Insurance - Anthem, Health Plan of Nevada, Nevada Health CO-OP, and St. Mary's. Visit "Approved 2014 Unsubsidized Rates" for an overview of the tier levels available and to review approved rates on the Nevada Division of Insurance website.
The cost will vary depending on your age, income, and where you live in Nevada. There are four regional coverage areas. When shopping for health insurance on the exchange, note that carriers St. Mary's and Health Plan of Nevada do not offer coverate in the rural counties. No matter which company you end up with, however, under Obamacare you cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
- Clark and Nye Counties
- Washoe County
- Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey Counties
- The remaining 10 rural counties in Nevada
Getting Help with Nevada Health Link
The Nevada Health Link website is your first stop for information. Here is additional contact information...
Nevada Health Link
c/o Silver State Health Insurance Exchange
2310 S. Carson Street, Suite 2, Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 855-7-NVLINK (855-768-5465)
Exchange enrollment facilitators (EEFs) are available to assist with navigating the system and helping people make the best health insurance choices based on their income and needs. There is an extensive EEF certification process in Nevada, including fingerprinting and a federal background check. Each certified EEF in Nevada receives a unique ID number so that every enrollment they perform on Nevada Health Link can be tracked. According to CJ Bawden, communications officer for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, "Public safety and security of personally identifiable information is of utmost importance to Nevada Health Link. That is why we have enacted the most comprehensive EEF certification in the U.S." This information puts to rest yet another baseless rumor about EEFs having access to personal information without being properly trained and screened.
Get More Information from Nevada Health Link
Here are some online resources to help you understand and deal with Nevada Health Link...
Affordable Care Act Information from the Federal Government
For additional federal government information about Obamacare, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
People living in states that have not set up their own health insurance exchanges will purchase insurance through the federal government's Health Insurance Marketplace.
Penalties for Not Having Health Insurance
Those who are required to have health insurance and do not do so are subject to financial penalties. As you can see, the longer you go without, the more expensive it becomes. There is also the issue of becoming ill or injured and not being covered, which can potentially result in huge out-of-pocket expenses. Can you afford the risk?
- 2014 - the greater of $95 or 1.0% of income
- 2015 - the greater of $325 or 2.0% of income
- 2016 - the greater of $695 or 2.5% of income
Sources: Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, Nevada Health Link, Nevada Division of Insurance, Reno Gazette-Journal.