Impact of Affordable Care Act in Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Impact of Affordable Care Act in Nevada

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It goes by many names: The Affordable Care Act, Federal Health Care Overhaul and Obama Care. Whatever you call it, big changes are coming to healthcare in Nevada and across the country.

Nevada originally opposed the federal changes, but once the law was upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court, Nevada decided to set up its own health insurance exchange. They called it Nevada Health Link, and officials are getting the word out with booths at local events, radio ads, and in September, television ads will begin airing. 

Nevada has also set up web sites to explain the new health care law. Jon Hager is the Executive Director of the new Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. "We've been implementing this since 2010, since the law became the law," Hager says.

Nevada Health Link will provide an online marketplace where people who are uninsured can compare health care plans side-by-side. Under the law -- if you don't have health insurance by 2014, you could be fined on your taxes. "Pretend you're a family of four making $47,000 a year -- that's 200% of the federal poverty level. That family of four -- if they didn't purchase health insurance -- would pay $470 for the year for not purchasing insurance," explains Hager.

How much you pay for the insurance, depends on your income. "That family of four I talked about would be about $250 a month, or $3,000 a year," Hager says. 

Hager says there are more than 300,000 uninsured people in Nevada. Whether you're for or against the Affordable Health Act, Hager says having a state exchange will mean new jobs here in Nevada that would otherwise be created at the federal level. "If we weren't doing it in Nevada, those same jobs would be in Virginia or in New York or someplace else. They wouldn't be here."

One complaint is the cost that taxpayers will have to pick up to pay for federal health care for everyone.

Hager says those with health insurance already pay for people who are uninsured. "Under your group health insurance, if you're covered by your company, which many Nevadans are, your rates take into account the losses that the hospitals take for those that don't pay their bill. When you have insurance, the hospital is much more likely to recover those funds for that visit," Hager said.

Enrollment in the Nevada Health Link insurance plans begins in October.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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