The unnoticed expansion of health insurance affordability in Nevada
The recently concluded legislative session made important strides on issues critical to Nevadans, including reopening our economy, empowering small businesses, supporting workers and educating our children. The Legislature also voted to create a public health insurance option, making Nevada one of the first states in the country to do so.
The passage of the public option generated national headlines which highlighted the state’s commitment to ensuring that all Nevadans have access to affordable insurance. However, there is a lot of work to be done to understand how this would impact the health care landscape and benefit Nevadans. The earliest a public option would be available through the state’s online health insurance marketplace, Nevada Health Link, is 2026.
While the public option is an important conversation that Nevada Health Link will be involved in, the reality is another piece of legislation passed this year that is already creating more affordable and comprehensive insurance options for Nevadans. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA or American Rescue Plan) of 2021 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden making tens of thousands of Nevadans eligible for immediate savings through increased subsidies for plans purchased through Nevada Health Link. Today, it is easier than ever for Nevadans to secure health insurance plans that meet their medical and financial needs.
For example, a family of four living in Carson City with a household income around $53,000 per year can now get an estimated tax credit of $884 per month. In Clark County, a 60-year-old couple living with a household income around $35,000 per year can now get an estimated tax credit of $1,579 per month. These expanded subsidies mean that more Nevada families from every part of the state have options for affordable health insurance.
Just as important, ARPA created an enrollment period that runs through August 15, 2021 to enable Nevadans who currently do not have insurance to take advantage of these new cost savings immediately. Nevadans who currently get their insurance through a plan on Nevada Health Link can login and update their application to save more on their existing plan. Any Nevadan who collected unemployment in 2021 is also eligible for a $0 plan on Nevada Health Link.
All of the plans sold through Nevada Health Link provide the ten essential health benefits so you know that the insurance you are getting will be there if you or your family need them.
While the passage of the public option is an important dialogue addressing the long-term affordability and accessibility of health insurance, there are savings available now that could benefit tens of thousands of Nevada families right away. The past year has shown all of us how crucial access to quality, affordable health insurance can be to individuals and their families. The health, dental, and vision plans available through Nevada Health Link can provide stability and security for Nevadans as we continue to navigate our way to recovery.
Heather Korbulic is the executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, the state agency that operates the online health insurance marketplace known as Nevada Health Link.