GUEST COLUMN:

For Nevadans, easy ‘window shopping’ access to health insurance starts Oct. 1

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A screen shot from nevadahealthlink.com.

Say the words “health insurance,” and many people’s eyes glaze over. Let’s face it, the health care insurance landscape is complex and confusing, even to seasoned insiders like me. That’s why the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, the state agency that offers plans that cover the 10 essential health benefits, works hard to make it easy for Nevadans to get budget-appropriate health coverage through the online marketplace, Nevada Health Link.

With open enrollment just around the corner, starting Nov. 1 and running through Jan. 15, now is the time to start thinking about health care coverage for 2021. And beginning Oct. 1, Nevadans can “window shop” online at NevadaHealthLink.com, for a plan that works for them, their families and their budgets.

This allows consumers the opportunity to preview and compare all of Nevada Health Link’s 2021 health and dental plans, while exploring details about monthly premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, co-payments and co-insurance amounts. Most importantly, consumers can get a general idea of how much financial assistance they may be eligible to receive once enrollment begins.

We have trained and certified agents and brokers standing by to walk and talk you through the process — in multiple languages, no less. While some of our brokers do have physical offices, we also offer online and telephone services for totally contactless enrollment.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that everyone, regardless of age, circumstance, income or health status, should have health insurance. There are so many more reasons to have insurance than go without it. Through the pandemic, the world, collectively, has re-prioritized the value of good health. In fact, “health is the new wealth” is now a guiding mantra for many as they see health through a whole new lens. So how can health insurance coverage promote good health?

For starters, a qualified health plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act, and the only type of plan sold on the Exchange, covers the 10 essential health benefits, including preexisting conditions. This includes maternity care, newborn care, mental health, preventive care and pediatric dental care, to name a few. It also includes all services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment.

It’s important for consumers to know that not all health care plans are created equal. In fact, many plans, which are promoted based on price alone, provide very little coverage, and consumers don’t discover that until it’s too late. This is yet another reason why shopping for health care coverage on Nevada Health Link is critical to ensure you have a quality plan. This year, we have two new carriers and about 50 plans, which nearly doubles what we offered last year. That means there is an option for just about everyone.

Those who have health care coverage also have greater access to good care when they need it most — from diagnostic services like X-rays, MRIs and lab work to ongoing treatment and care. A health care plan, by its nature, is insurance that you will receive the care you need — when you need it. Illness and injury can occur at any time, and health insurance not only offers financial protection, it ensures access to a higher quality of care.

The cost of health care is another barrier to entry for many who believe insurance is too costly. At Nevada Health Link, not only do we offer a variety of plans in all price ranges, we are the only place Nevadans can qualify for subsidies and tax credits to offset the cost of insurance premiums. In fact, the majority of those we serve qualify for these subsidies, making health insurance even more of a no-brainer.

We know there are hundreds of thousands of uninsured Nevadans. This includes those who have fallen off their parents’ plans, those who have lost jobs and their health care coverage benefits, those who are self-employed and don’t have an employer-sponsored plan, and those who don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. Nevada Health Link is the place to go for a plan that will give you peace of mind and ensure you get the health care you need when you need it.

Health insurance is not a luxury. It’s a necessity that everyone deserves to have. We’re here to help you find a plan that works for you and a plan that will make your 2021 brighter and healthier. Check us out at NevadaHealthLink.com or call us at 1-800-547-2927.

Heather Korbulic is executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.