Bill creates a public option for Nevadans seeking health insurance

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 8:35 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - We’ve shown you plenty of pictures of Nevada’s Health Insurance Exchange called Healthlink.

On the website, residents can sign-up or use a broker or call on the phone and find health insurance that may not be offered to them anywhere else.

Now some lawmakers in Carson City want to add a public option paid for by the state to the exchange which they say will be less expensive than what’s currently offered on the exchange.

The question is will this discourage competition to where in the end, Nevadans will have only one choice for health insurance.

“Adding an option, to a particular set of options doesn’t kill of competition,” says Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, a major sponsor of the SB 420. “In fact, it is the very definition of competition, right? Competition exists because there is a lot of competition. And what we are trying to do is to try and close the gaps in healthcare where we can actually provide affordable and accessible health care to Nevadans,” she says.

“The American Rescue Plan” has meant currently there are subsidies for nearly all Nevadans who purchase their health insurance through Healthlink. The move has meant even more uninsured in our state are coming to the table. They can continue to sign up until mid-August.

But Senator Cannizzaro says we can’t depend upon those subsidies forever, and this is a chance to retain those who have health insurance at this time because of those subsidies.

A group calling itself “Nevada’s Health Care Future” disagrees with Senator Cannizzaro.

They say a recent survey of Nevadans shows they are happy with the state health exchange as it is now. If there are changes the survey shows, a majority of Nevadans would prefer building upon what is already established not rebuilding a brand new system. No price tag to what this “public option” will cost, and what reimbursements to health care providers would look like.

If the Senate bill becomes law, it would go into effect in 2025.

SB 420 heads to Senate Health and Human Services Committee after being introduced on the Senate floor Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

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