With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, Nevadans have new choices when purchasing private health insurance. Nevada chose to implement a state marketplace. As a result, citizens of the state should visit Nevada Health Link to shop for, compare, and purchase health insurance policies. Because the marketplace experienced some significant technical issues, there is a contact email and phone number for those who need help with enrollment. As of March 1st, 2014, over 28,000 Nevadans had selected a marketplace plan.
Nevada also chose to move forward with the expansion of Medicaid eligibility allowing thousands of additional lower-income Nevadans to find coverage under Medicaid. This helps avoid the problem of citizens getting stuck in a gap – earning too little to qualify for a subsidy in the marketplace, but earning too much to be eligible for Medicaid.
Purchasing Health Insurance in Nevada
Applications for health insurance can be filled out online, over the phone, or in person with an assister. However an application is completed, it will be reviewed for eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as any applicable financial assistance with private insurance.
Nevadans who earn between 100% – 400% of the federal poverty level will qualify for assistance with monthly premiums. Those who earn between 100% – 250% of the federal poverty level will also qualify for assistance with cost-sharing, such as copayments and deductibles. For the enrollment period ending March 31st, 2014, the 2013 poverty level will be used, which was $23,550 for a family of four.
Uninsured Nevadans should have obtained coverage by March 31st, 2014, in order to avoid a tax penalty. After March 31st, 2014, Americans will not be able to purchase private insurance until the next open enrollment period unless they qualify for a special enrollment period. Nevadans who have work-based coverage, Medicare, or other qualified insurance are considered covered under the ACA and do not need to purchase additional coverage. If health coverage is unattainable for a financial or other circumstance, an exemption can be applied for to avoid the penalty. However, there will still be no coverage for health needs.
Medicaid and CHIP in Nevada
With the expansion of Medicaid guidelines, thousands of additional Nevadans will be eligible for Medicaid, even if those who were declined in the past. Unlike private insurance, Medicaid and CHIP can be applied for at any time throughout the year. There is no limitation on enrollment period for these programs. Nevadans who want to apply for Medicaid can fill out an application in the marketplace or contact the state office directly.
For families with a moderate income who don’t qualify for Medicaid, their uninsured children may be able to find coverage with CHIP. CHIP, which is called Nevada Check Up in Nevada, provides low-cost coverage to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Nevada Check Up provides children with services such as doctor visits, immunizations, dental and vision care, and more. For more information on Nevada Check Up, visit their website.
With the passage of the ACA, Nevada residents have more options than before when it comes to choosing health coverage. Because the state chose to expand Medicaid eligibility, thousands of new lower-income Nevadans qualify for state coverage. In addition, the marketplace offers many options for private insurance, with financial assistance available for many citizens of the state. Knowing your options and making the right choice for your family is a big step toward a healthy future.