Clock ticking for health insurance coverage by Jan. 1 - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Clock ticking for health insurance coverage by Jan. 1

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The deadline to sign up for Obamacare was extended from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 so more people had the opportunity to get coverage by the first of the year.

On Thursday, the Nevada Health Link reported that 8,874 qualified plans existed.

CJ Bawden from the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange says more people will be working the call center in the coming days to meet the demand of people trying to sign up.

FOX5 tested out the wait time for a phone call after 5pm. The automated voice explained it would have been a 34 minute wait time to get through to a representative. 

Under Nevada's health insurance, the Nevada Health Co-Op is offering insurance options for customers, which in some cases are free.

We really believe we keep costs down by helping people to see doctors helping them to get healthcare," said Tom Zumtobel, CEO of Nevada Health Co-Op.

Zumtobel says a few thousand have signed up for insurance through one of their plans.

Family practitioner, Dr. Nicole Flora is the Chief Medical Officer at the Nevada Health Co-Op.

She says 28 percent of her patients are uninsured and pay for medical bills out of pocket.

"I've taken care of patients in the community for a long time now and there's so much need," Dr. Flora said.

Flora says a lot of patients earn a lower income and will qualify for subsidies under Obamacare standards.

She believes many of her patients haven't made health care needs a priority because they have to pay costs out of pocket.

"They really now can get the help for things that I know put behind them for years and not sought treatment for," Dr. Flora said.

Another option through the Nevada Health Co-Op will be video chatting with a doctor face to face.

"They can call in anytime [if] they have a need," Dr. Flora said. "If it's someone that has a sick child in the middle of the night or if it's somebody that works strange hours." 

Flora says this option will be free of charge.

The Nevada Health Co-Op says they've partnered with 1,200 doctors in Southern Nevada and statewide to ensure that someone in rural Nevada has a doctor through their coverage.

Meantime, the exchange says customers can call in Mon. through Fri. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or on Sat. and Sun. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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