by CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON
Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act – or “Obamacare” – will require that Americans have health insurance. Any citizen without insurance – with very few exceptions – will have to pay a fine if they do not have some form of health insurance.
The start of Obamacare in Nevada is less than two weeks away. The State of Nevada is launching the Nevada Health Link—a state-run website that allows Nevadans to compare available plans based on premiums, coverage, and deductibles. This site will handle virtually all elements of Nevada’s health insurance exchange.
Here is a list of nine things to know about Obamacare in Nevada before it begins:
1. Oct. 1, 2013 is when Nevada Health Link launches, and Nevadans can start buying health insurance plans that will begin coverage on Jan. 1, 2014. Additionally, all Nevada residents who legally reside in the U.S. are eligible to apply and receive insurance through Nevada Health Link starting this day.
2. Nevadans will need to have coverage by March 1, 2014 to avoid a fine.
3. If Nevadans have a lapse in coverage for any reason, there will be three month period before a fine is issued.
4. The fine for not having coverage is $95 or 1 percent of one’s annual income – whichever figure is greater.
5. Dec. 15, 2013 is the deadline to enroll for insurance that will begin on Jan. 1, 2014.
6. Nevadans cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions, current health, gender, or insurance history. Factors that influence premium rates are: age, geographic location, tobacco use, and family composition.
7. Nevadans are not required to purchase a plan through the Nevada Health Link; plans can be bought independently or through an employer. If currently insured, Nevadans don’t need to purchase a plan – although they’re still eligible to do so.
8. Nevadans who buy insurance from the Nevada Health Link are eligible for a substantial tax credit to help pay for coverage. This subsidy is called the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC). The size of the credit is determined by each person’s financial need. Nevadans are only eligible if they’ve purchased insurance from Nevada Health Link and their employer does not offer health insurance. Here is the basic qualification guideline – Nevadans are eligible for credit if their annual income is below or near the amount listed for corresponding family size:
1 – $45,960
2 – $62,040
3 – $78,120
4 – $94,200
5 – $110,280
6 – $126,360
9. The fine for not having insurance will increase in 2016; the fine for not having insurance will become $695 or 2.5 percent of one’s annual income.