We talked with Heather Korbulic, Executive Director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, the state agency that connects Nevadans to qualified health plans through Nevada Health Link, to see how the Nevada team is handling the pandemic in their state.
“I cannot stress enough that anyone eligible to enroll in a health plan, should,” said Heather. “Our focus is to get Nevadans enrolled in plans, but this is true for everyone across the country. If you can get insurance, you should get insurance. Now is not the time to take chances with your health. Secondly, there are a lot of people out there who view this pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of the public’s fear. Please beware of insurance fraud; know what to look for and if you have questions, call us.”
Nevada’s Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period
We are constantly working to get the message across that everyone needs a health plan. It’s why we do what we do, why we come to work every day. We want Nevadans to understand how truly important it is to not only have coverage, but to have the right coverage. And, of course now, as the global pandemic of COVID-19 rages, the need for health insurance has never been more important. As virus cases across the country continue to soar, we are learning more and more that no one is immune, no one is invincible, and everyone deserves access to coverage. We at Nevada Health Link remain determined in our efforts to reach every uninsured or underinsured Nevadan.
In keeping with our mission, and in response to Nevada Governor Sisolak’s declaration of a state of emergency, Nevada Health Link kicked into gear a limited time special enrollment period. The Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for qualified Nevadans opened on March 17th and ends at midnight on April 15th. [Update April 13th: Deadline extended through May 15th.] Eligible Nevadans are those who are not insured by their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, and who missed the opportunity to enroll in 2020 coverage through the regular open enrollment window.
It’s also important to remember that more than 80% of Nevada consumers qualify for subsidies to help offset their monthly premium costs, and Nevada Health Link is the ONLY place to get those subsidies and tax credits. Visit https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/sep to see what you qualify for. If you’re uninsured or have recently lost your job, you may be surprised at how affordable insurance can be — you may even qualify for Medicaid.
Be mindful of scams
This warning is not just for Nevadans. Everyone should be extra mindful of insurance-related scams during this time. The websites of fraudulent actors may look legitimate, and many are marketed as “full coverage plans available at affordable prices.” Be sure to find FREE assistance from a Nevada Health Link certified broker or assister (or from the exchange in your state) and be careful not to provide your information to websites that look questionable or phone numbers that are out of state.
Some other things to look out for include:
- It’s important to also know Nevada Health Link insurance plans, as well as all plans bought through healthcare.gov or your state’s exchange, will cover COVID-19 related care. You do NOT need to purchase additional health insurance.
- At this time, there are no free vaccines, no special virus tests nor test kits related to COVID-19 available on the open market.
- Other red flags include brokers who are not willing to provide immediate, online assistance, or brokers who claim the high price of insurance because the plan covers COVID-19 testing.
Nevadans who would like to enroll during this special enrollment are encouraged to contact the Customer Assistance Call Center between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-800-547-2927; TTY: 711. The Call Center has extended its hours on Saturdays and Sundays (except for Easter Sunday) to 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PST through April 15.