Health Insurance in Nevada – Get Ready for the Open Marketplace
Nevada’s Health Marketplace will be open this October! Are you ready?
Have you heard all the news about health insurance? It’s becoming inescapable; a major piece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the open healthcare marketplace, will soon be a reality. Nevada is ready to roll out the marketing for its open marketplace, Nevada Health Link, and there are now less than 60 days left until this marketplace opens for enrollment. So what’s in store for you? Here’s what you need to know about what’s going on now, and what’s in the future, for health insurance in Nevada.
The ACA was created with the intent to prevent health insurance company abuses (i.e. charging women more than men, denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, seemingly arbitrarily dropping coverage all-together, etc.). It is also intended to provide a marketplace where individuals and families can purchase affordable health insurance to cover their health needs. Some of the benefits that have been put in place already thanks to ACA include:
-Access to free preventative care: Yearly wellness visits (i.e. yearly physicals and yearly visits to an OB/GYN), blood pressure screenings, mammograms, etc., under the ACA, are now free.
-Insurance companies can no longer deny you, your spouse or child, coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
-Parents are able to include their adult children, up to the age of 26, on their current health insurance plan. With kids staying home with their parents well into their college years because of the current economic climate, this provision is one that can be helpful for families.
-Lifetime limits on benefits like hospital stays are nixed and will remain that way and, currently, annual spending limits on coverage are restricted. Beginning January 1, 2014, annual spending limits on coverage will be banned altogether.
-The ACA has helped close the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, saving seniors on prescriptions and the ACA has tools in place to fight fraud occurring in the Medicare system.
The ACA also provides tax credits to those individuals, families and small businesses to make health insurance affordable. And the law gives states the ability to design exchanges which are open markets for purchasing health insurance that fit the needs of the citizens of their state. Nevada is one of the states that received funding under this law and has put it to use.
Nevada Health Link is our health insurance marketplace. Beginning this October, Nevadans will be able to go to this site to compare a variety of health insurance plans from various companies to find an affordable plan that fits their needs. Currently, you can access the premium calculator to get an idea of what the per month cost of premiums would be for individuals and families. Something to keep in mind when using the calculator and, in October, when applying to find an insurance plan, is that the monthly premium is based on annual household income. The site does give an example and also provides information on the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) and Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) for those who qualify for these subsidies. Signing up through Nevada Health Link will be the only way that Nevadans, who are eligible for these subsidies, can receive them. Any person living in the state of Nevada can use Nevada Health Link and, those who enroll in a plan via Nevada Health Link by December 15th, will have coverage by January 1, 2014.
Nevada Health Care Options via Nevada Health Link:
Nevada Health CO-OP, is one of four insurance providers that will be available to Nevadans through Nevada Health Link. The other three providers are Health Plan of Nevada, Anthem and St. Mary’s, which is a member of Dignity Health (the same company that runs the three St. Rose hospitals here in Southern Nevada). Nevada Health CO-OP is the only one of the four which is not only locally run, but is also a non-profit. CO-OPs, which were created through the ACA, and chosen for loan funding by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), are Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans that are non-profit and controlled by the CO-OP members. In May of 2012, Hospitality Health CO-OP was funded and is now branded as Nevada Health CO-OP and it’s headed up by the same folks who also run the Culinary Health Fund. Nevada Health CO-OP is currently accepting applications from Nevada residents to reserve spots with the program, though it is only accepting a limited number and only on a first come-first serve basis. While the three for-profit providers currently appear to have limited information and marketing on their sites with regards to open marketplace plans, Nevada Health CO-OP has been conducting extensive marketing via their Facebook page, Twitter, and YouTube and their Health Advocates have been at events, such as Bet on the Farm at Springs Preserve spreading the word.
Changes are on the horizon for healthcare-are you ready?