Uninsured Nevadans can officially sign up for health insurance - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Uninsured Nevadans can officially sign up for health insurance

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Thousands of Nevadans went on the first Nevada health insurance website on Tuesday when the health exchange rollouts officially began.

Jon Hager, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said there are about 42 different health plan options offered through four health insurance carriers, including Anthem, St. Mary's, Health Plan of Nevada and Nevada Health Co-Op. 

"If you have been uninsured, if you've had a difficult time getting insurance, if it's been unaffordable or had a pre-existing condition, a lot of those reasons to not have insurance go away," Hager said.

By the close of business on Tuesday, the Nevada Health Link site saw 36,000 unique visitors, more than 3,300 new accounts and nearly 100 applications already in the works.

Hager says they have spent two years working on the site preparing for the Oct. 1 date. The sheer volume of visitors, however, created backlogs in the system, and errors were found.

"There was an error with the account creation," Hager said. "We tested the system with 100 to 200 people on it. We had our navigators on it. We had testers on it all at the same time."

Errors quickly fixed as Hager said they can't afford a major system crash. "There are going to be problems and issues that will crop up over the next couple of weeks, but we are finding the issues as they come," he said. "We are working on fixing them as quickly as possible."

Statewide, about one in five or 20 percent of Nevadans currently don't have long-term stable health insurance.

As the 18 to 24-year-old range is one of the main demographics the Affordable Care Act is targeting, a group called Organizing for Action was at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Tuesday educating college students.

"We also have some young adults here who are uninsured, and we feel that we can get them to enroll, which will help offset the cost of other people that may be sicker," said Joyce Ridley-Scott from Organizing for Action. 

For others, the exchanges are more about choosing between their employer insurance or the health exchange plans and examining which one is the better price and better coverage.

"I should actually definitely compare to see, you know, what's going to benefit me should I decline my insurance with my new employer or go through that healthcare program," said Brenda Camanche.

If the health plan options are too expensive, there are federal subsidies available, meaning     the federal government will help people pay for their health insurance depending on annual income and the number of people per household. 

The Nevada Health Exchange website is available here: https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/

Those experiencing errors can call 1(855) 7-NVLINK (768-5465).

Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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