Nevada lawmakers, health exchange director urge uninsured to sign up | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada lawmakers, health exchange director urge uninsured to sign up

Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez Thompson, Health Exchange Director Heather Korbulic, Assemblywoman Sarah Peters and Sen. Ben Kieckhefer at Thursday's press conference in Carson City.
Geoff Dornan/Nevada Appeal

Northern Nevada legislators joined Nevada’s Health Link director Thursday to urge Nevadans who need health insurance to sign up.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, Assemblywomen Teresa Benitez Thompson and Sarah Peters, all of Reno, held a press conference on the steps of the Legislature to urge people to go to nevadahealthlink.com during open enrollment and take a look at the 27 qualified health plans (QHPs) available this year.

Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15 for healthcare coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Health Exchange Director Heather Korbulic said over 80 percent of customers in their system qualify for some level of subsidy from the federal government to help pay for their insurance and that the average cost across the state is just $148 a month.

She and Thompson warned that there are other plans being sold for less but that they aren’t QHP and don’t offer coverage for maternity care, newborn coverage and other health needs.

“Not all health plans are created equal,” Korbulic said.

Kieckhefer said there are about 400,000 uninsured Nevadans. He said nevadahealthlink.com can shrink that number. Without health insurance, he said, “we’re stuck with emergency care.”

Peters said in the past, she and her family were customers of the Nevada exchange’s predecessor, the federal healthcare.gov exchange. But she said that system wasn’t easy and that the new Nevada-based exchange Korbulic and her staff rolled out Nov. 1 is much better.

Without health insurance, she said, medical services are “cost prohibitive, so expensive.”

“It’s scary to go to a doctor when you don’t know how you’re going to pay for it,” she said.

“Not having health insurance can have lasting consequences to your health,” Thompson said.

In addition to nevadahealthlink.com, Korbulic said customers can call 800-547-2927 for help finding a plan that meets their needs.