Deadline to sign up for health insurance nearing

Local News

Enrollment numbers for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act in Nevada are down and the deadline is just 10 days away.

For Medicare, the deadline is Friday.

Open enrollment is happening right now. There are two deadlines. Friday for Medicare and Dec 15 for the Nevada Health Exchange. You can go online and walk yourself through to sign up or you can go to places like Protect Health where you can get some free help.

“Absolutely. We’re paid as a commission through the providers in most cases. We don’t ever charge the customer a fee,” said Brian Douglas, Protect Health.

So, what goes into choosing a plan?

“I would say what people need to look at is deductibles, network, probably the most important thing, and cost,” Douglas said. “It really comes down to cost and if people have certain income situations, they do qualify for subsidies which will help them pay a majority of their health insurance.”

Enrollment is currently down. According to numbers from the Nevada Health Link, enrollment last year was more than 91,000. So far this year, that number is now less than 24,000.

Although a spokeswoman says she expects a bump within the next week. As for the reasons why those numbers are down, a spokesman for Nevada Health Link points to several reasons.

The Trump administration has removed the tax penalty put in place by the Obama administration. Under the previous mandate, if you claimed you could not afford the premium, you had to provide documentation and more. Now, you can just say you can’t afford it and face no penalty.

There are also competing plans in the marketplace such as Short-Term Limited Duration Plans, Health Sharing Ministries and Association Health Plans.

Another impact has been the proposed public charge rule.

She also points to Nevada’s booming economy. More people are working and may be getting insurance through their jobs.

But for those who don’t have health insurance, especially without that tax penalty, Douglas said that can be a risk.

“If you don’t have health insurance and you go the emergency room, we all know they will usually treat you, but you don’t get the best care when that happens. Usually when you don’t have insurance, they’re going to treat you, make sure you’re ambulatory, walking out the door and then send you on the way to do your outpatient. And we know for a lot of Nevadans that isn’t possible if they don’t have insurance. They don’t have the money for that,” Douglas said.

And if you do end up in the hospital.

“It can be huge. It can be life staggering, I mean it can be life changing. A lot of doctors will not see patients at all if they don’t have health insurance. Anymore doctors who used to do cash pays just won’t do it anymore.”

The Trump administration has cut funding for marketing for the Affordable Care Act, but a Nevada Health Exchange spokeswoman says those cuts are not affecting the Nevada marketplace.        

There are locations and brokers throughout the valley including Protecthealth which has two locations:

  • 2202 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 8 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Meadows Mall, just outside the food court 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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