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Deadline coming to sign up for Nevada health insurance option

There are five days left to sign up for a plan on Nevada’s Affordable Care Act exchange, but so far, the health insurance option isn’t as popular among consumers as it was last year.

Enrollment was down about 11 percent nationwide and 12 percent in Nevada from last year as of Dec. 1, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

But Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said Monday that she remains hopeful that ramped-up marketing will help the state-based marketplace match last year’s enrollment of 91,003 residents.

“We’re on every social media (and) digital everywhere,” Korbulic said. “You’ll see a lot of Nevada Health Link this week.”

Korbulic said the exchange typically sees a surge in sign-ups in the last week of open enrollment, as people who were putting off signing up or simply forgot feel the pressure to enroll by Dec. 15, the last day of open enrollment.

It’s also possible that changes in the ACA and other federal programs are slowing sign-ups, Korbulic said. That includes the elimination of the individual mandate, the entrance of competing short-term plans into the market and a “chilling effect” from a proposed public charge rule on immigrants that’s said to be generating concern in that community.

She said low unemployment could also mean more people are receiving health coverage through an employer.

“It’s going to be really hard to suss that out until we get final numbers and until we can see through the (Nevada) Department of Insurance how many people are potentially in the employer market and short-term plans,” Korbulic said. “That’ll give us a chance to see where people went.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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