Senate passes ‘public option’ health insurance plan

The Nevada Legislature Building in Carson City on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

The Nevada Legislature Building in Carson City on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Photo: David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

The Nevada Senate on Tuesday passed an ambitious plan to create a “public option” health insurance program for all Nevadans.
SB420 aims to create health insurance policies for individuals that are at least as good as Medicare but provide the coverage at lower costs than Medicare.
The bill was passed on a party line vote with Democrats for it and Republicans unanimously opposed.
The legislation, which now goes to the Assembly, directs the head of Health and Human Services, the executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange and the Insurance Commissioner to apply to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for a waiver to obtain federal pass-through funding to pay for the program as well as other waivers to get funding to support the plan including potentially the Social Security Act.
It authorizes those officials to seek any and all other federal funding to pay for the plan.
Any money received would be deposited in a Trust Fund created by SB420.
The plan would be available to all Nevadans and to small employers who could join to help provide coverage for their workers.
The insurance policies would be purchased through the health insurance exchange and be required to provide at least the levels of coverage mandated in the Affordable Care Act but cost at least 5 percent less than the “reference premium” for any given zip code. Price increases would be limited to the increase in the Medicare Economic Index for that year.
The public option program would not go live until 2025.


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