Nevada state health plan being assembled | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada state health plan being assembled

Cy Ryan
Special to the Lahontan Valley News

In view of the uncertainty of the Trump administration on offering health insurance, a state plan is being assembled to give the market place stability and might help small business, rural Nevada, state workers and prison inmates.

An estimated 8 percent of Nevadans don't have some type of health insurance but Marta Jensen, head of Medicaid, said there has been talk in the past as many as 215,000 residents may be tossed off the program and Nevada must have a "safety net" to take care those individuals.

Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, D-Sparks, who heads a study on creating a Nevada plan, said the state can't rely on the federal government to continue its programs.

"With the market place going crazy, we are looking for a product that is more stable," he said.

Sprinkle and his group have been holding public hearings around the state to get suggestions on how to set up the system and benefits to be provided.

At a hearing in Carson City on Tuesday, attended by about 40 persons, there were suggestions mental health treatment be included in any new plan and it cover preventive medicine.

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A report of its findings will be relayed to the 2019 Legislature. Sprinkle conceded that cost would be a big hurdle to start such a program.

The initial thinking is for the state's Medicaid and the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange to run the yet undeveloped program.

Janel Davis, communication officer of the exchange, said it now has 91,000 low-income members using the system to contract with insurance companies. About 88 percent of them receive subsidies.

As envisioned, the benefits would include those offered to the 660,000 persons on Medicaid that's supported by the federal and state government

Sprinkle is asking Nevadans to e-mail their recommendations and concerns to nvcareplan.com

He stressed this wasn't a plan to put insurance companies out of business.

He said a Nevada plan could help economic development efforts to draw companies to Nevada with a low cost and stable program.