LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — About 11% of Nevadans just roll the dice when it comes to health coverage, betting that they’ll be OK without it.
Some just can’t afford insurance.
And some are brand new to the dilemma, with the “Great Resignation” that has played out over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No question about it,” said Albert Ochoa, CEO/president of Smart Buy Insurance, Inc. “The ‘Great Resignation’ has definitely increased engagement and enrollment in the Nevada Health Link. We are seeing more customers who have lost health insurance through their employer due to layoffs, furloughs, job/career changes and for personal reasons.”
Ochoa is one of the brokers who helps find coverage for people who are going through Nevada Health Link. He sees some customers who have chosen the path.
The deadline to enroll in health coverage through Nevada Health Link is almost here — Saturday, Jan. 15, at 11:59 p.m. Free enrollment assistance offered on NevadaHealthLink.com can help consumers choose plans, compare prices and answer questions relating to their health coverage needs.
Another broker sees different attitudes, too.
“Priorities have drastically shifted from financial to health concerns over the past couple years and I believe our youth are left waiting for social changes to normalize before deciding what they want to do in the long term,” said Chris Carothers, president of Your Insurance Agency & Carothers Insurance.
“It’s like everyone is operating in limbo and unable to make a decision impacting their future beyond a few months at a time,” Carothers said.
The choices being made have huge consequences. The cost for even basic medical treatment and prescriptions grows every year. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has started to assemble an effort to limit how fast costs grow, but that’s probably not going to save someone from going into debt for medical care because they didn’t have insurance.
By the first week of January, more than 41,000 people had enrolled for coverage through Nevada Health Link, according to state officials. More than 15,500 of those people were brand new to the coverage.
Are those new customers part of the “Great Resignation?”
“More for sure, but not on a scale that seems out of whack,” according to Brian D. Douglas, who says his company provides insurance for over 10% of consumers on Nevada Health Link.
Douglas said people new to the system have been trickling in, but not on a mass scale. People often wait to sign up until the last minute, so he said the picture could change.
Douglas said the people who come to Nevada Health Link want to be sure they will have quality health care coverage. “If you ask my customers, they will tell you for the most part they certainly want to be treated by a professional who isn’t a conspiracy theorist about the vaccine. They prefer workers who have their patient’s protection in mind as much as their own.”
Carothers said several factors are in play in what can be a complicated decision.
“It is similar to young families with children considering whether both parents should work and send children to daycare,” Carothers said. “Or if one parent stays home to save the costs of daycare.”
“I see families having to add their healthcare coverage to this equation, making it evermore complicated,” he said. “Which person should go to work to cover the family’s healthcare? Which job would allow for Health Exchange subsidies and more affordable copays or out-of-pocket costs?”
If you’re looking for help in sorting out the answers to your new situation in life, NevadaHealthLink.com is a good place to start.