Study shows 9 percent of Nevadans eligible for discount health insurance


CARSON CITY — About 9 percent of Nevadan’s population will be eligible for discount health insurance rates when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014, a recently released study shows.

Families USA released a report that shows 242,050 Nevadans could qualify for tax credits that reduce their health insurance costs to as low as 3.3 percent of their income.

As an example, an individual earning $15,860 a year would pay $520 in 2014 for health coverage. That calculation is based on his or her health insurance costing $5,000.

A family of four with household income of $47,100 a year would pay 6.3 percent of its income, or $2,970, for insurance. That is based on insurance costing $12,500.

The information will become important to lower- income Nevadans — those with incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of federal poverty levels — in October, when residents can sign up with the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange for health care coverage that begins in January.

“We can absolutely handle that load,” C.J. Bawden, communications director for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said of the 242,050 estimate.

He said the exchange had been looking to enroll 118,000 people in the Nevada program in the first year.

Bawden said a series of print, TV and radio ads soon will begin appearing to advise residents about their potential eligibility for discount health insurance through Obamacare. In September, in particular, many advertisements will be running, and health insurance companies also will advise people of the programs.

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, with already more than $75 million in federal funds, has been working with the insurance industry to secure affordable insurance benefit plans .

It eventually will have telephone numbers, consumer representatives and much information available for residents to pick insurance plans that meet their needs.

Its website is exchange.nv.gov. The site will calculate your expected costs for health insurance. Just plug in your salary and the number of people in your family.

According to the Silver State site, an individual earning $17,000 would pay 3.8 percent of income, or $54.96 a month, for the second least costly policy.

For a family of four with a $45,000 income, the cost would be 5.89 percent of income, or $220.81 per month.

People who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty income levels will receive free insurance through Medicaid. Unlike in some states, Gov. Brian Sandoval supported legislation to ensure that people earning up to 138 percent of poverty level wages would receive Medicaid.

Several tiers of health insurance coverage will be offered by private insurance companies. Individuals and families will receive tax credits based on the least expensive cost plan.

If they pick a higher cost plan, they would be required to pay the difference between the cheapest plan and the plan they choose.

Families USA is a national health consumer organization based in Washington, D.C.

According to its “Help Is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits in Nevada” study, 86 percent of the people qualifying for discount health insurance will come from working families.

Of the 242,050 total who now qualify for health insurance, 45.4 percent are white, 6.5 percent are black, 37 percent are Hispanic and 11.2 percent are Asian, American Indian or from other backgrounds.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-697-3901.

 

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