RENO, NV - With the Supreme Court upholding most of the Affordable Health Care Act, our 'Battle Born” state now faces some tough decisions. Will the governor and the legislature agree to take on federal funding so more Nevadans can have health insurance? Are there other options? A lot is at stake for the uninsured Nevadan. A state health insurance exchange program is going full steam ahead to answer some of those questions.
Reno resident Sue Kephart says she's changed a lot over the past couple of years.
50 pounds lighter, she exercises regularly, and eats properly.
You'd think she'd be a great candidate for health insurance coverage.
But when her husband lost his job she lost her insurance.
She applied for health insurance through her work and was denied.
Her resting heart rate was low, the insurance company called it a condition and she has gone without coverage ever since--you bet she had an interest in today's Supreme Court Decision.
“I hope that I am able to get affordable health insurance. I'm totally willing to pay for it, as long as it is affordable. And that's it,” says Sue.
Sue may qualify for a newly established health insurance clearing house of sorts here in Nevada.
Called the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, it's a program where uninsured Nevadans can get health insurance.
State Senator Sheila Leslie was there during legislative hearings and the final vote for a program she strongly believes.
“So whereas most people get their insurance through work we have large purchasing power. An individual has not been able to purchase insurance on the open market that is competitive, this makes insurance that is competitive for everyone,” says Leslie.
With Thursday’s ruling the insurance exchange says its going full speed head--by taking applications beginning October 2013 and be up and running January 2014.
The next hurdle is determining whether Nevada should take federal money and expand its Medicaid coverage to include a new class of insured.
Estimates range anywhere from 90-to more than 120,000 people with a cost of more than $70-million dollars for the first two years.
The good news: The Federal government will pick up the cost for the first couple of years---but Nevada will eventually have to pay 10%.
Bean counters will have to determine if that amount is cheaper than having to pay for those same unisured Nevadans' emergency room and hospital visits.