(LAS VEGAS, KXNT)–Ladies and gentlemen, start your health insurance engines.
Tuesday is the first day of enrollment in the Silver State Health Exchange–the phase of the Affordable Care Act aimed at providing affordable health insurance coverage to the estimated 22% of Nevadans who do not have such coverage.
The Nevada Health Link, as the plan is known, is not only for the uninsured, however. Virtually anyone in the state can shop for a policy, although those who already have employer-based coverage are unlikely to qualify for tax credits that accompany the plans.
In an interview with KXNT on the eve of the enrollment, Nevada Health Link Executive Director John Hager advises residents to shop around for a while before enrolling. The enrollment deadline is not until December.
He says there are four prominent health insurers lined up to provide policies, and seven dental carriers. He says premium prices are competitive, especially in Clark County, Nye County, and more highly populated pockets of the state. A recent federal study indicates that costs in state exchanges are generally lower than originally anticipated.
While Hager says there are bound to be glitches or some delays in processing policies, the state exchange is about as ready as it can be to begin the enrollment process. But one big glitch has already occurred: the spanish-language website portal is not in operation and will not be until November. Nonetheless, Spanish-speaking Nevadans can still access information via the Spanish section of the main website, phone a Spanish-speaking representative, or enroll in person at an office.
The only persons not eligible for coverage in the health exchange are those who are incarcerated or are in the country illegally.
Businesses are eligible, too. Business owners with a smaller number of employees can also sign up for policies.