The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange announced Tuesday that Nevada Health Link enrolled 6,017 Nevadans during its limited-time Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period that ended May 15.
In response to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s March 12 Emergency Declaration, the SEP was opened to allow qualified Nevadans who missed open enrollment to secure health care coverage. Consumers who enrolled on or before April 30 received coverage effective May 1, and consumers who enrolled between May 1 and 15 will have coverage effective June 1, 2020.
Of the enrollees, 5,479 were new consumer enrollments related to the exceptional circumstance period and 538 were due to loss of minimum essential coverage.
“I am pleased to see so many Nevadans take advantage of the limited-time special enrollment period to get comprehensive, qualified health insurance they need to safeguard themselves and their families, especially during these unprecedented times,” Sisolak said. “While it’s always important to be insured, regardless of age, health, income or life circumstances, the global coronavirus pandemic has certainly magnified the importance of health care coverage and the invaluable peace of mind that comes with knowing you are covered and protected should you or someone in your family become ill or injured.”
Nevada Health Link was able to implement the SEP because it operates its own exchange and is therefore independent of the federal health insurance platform, HealthCare.gov. Nevada is one of only 13 states that operates its own exchange and was able to offer this opportunity to its residents.
All plans sold by the exchange cover COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment and are considered qualified health plans that also cover the 10 essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, including pre-existing conditions, maternity and newborn care, mental health, preventive care and pediatric dental care.
Nevada Health Link clarified that insurance is not required to be tested for COVID-19, and the emergency regulation signed by the governor provides that there is no cost to consumers for medical services related to testing for COVID-19.
Nevada Health Link also recommends consumers who are having a hard time paying their monthly premiums to contact their health insurance carrier directly rather than canceling their health insurance plans. Consumers who recently lost their job or had a change in income might be eligible to receive more subsidy assistance to help pay for their health plans. Nevada Health Link is the only place consumers can qualify for subsidies to help offset the costs of health insurance premiums.
Nevada Health Link noted that Nevada residents who experience other qualifying events, such as marriage, birth of a child, moving, loss of health insurance or Medicaid denial are also eligible to shop for a qualified health plan anytime during the year. For more information, visit https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/sep or in Spanish https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/sepes