Wednesday, July 3, 2013 | 9:51 a.m.
The decision by President Barack Obama to delay a key part of the Affordable Care Act is not expected to have a big impact on Nevada, a state official said.
Jon Hager, director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said individuals will still have to purchase health care insurance starting in January. If they don’t, there will be a tax penalty imposed.
The Obama Administration announced Tuesday that employers with 50 or more workers would not have to purchase health coverage for employees until 2015, a delay of one year.
Hager said workers in these firms must still purchase health coverage for themselves and their families despite the delay.
He expects 115,000 Nevadans will use the Silver State Exchange to find insurance companies that offer coverage. Individuals can buy the health coverage without going through the exchange, which will offer a comparison of benefits.
Hager said the exchange has contracted with eight companies to supply workers who will answer questions and help individuals understand the insurance packages available.
There was never any requirement in the law that businesses with less than 50 workers would have to buy health coverage for their workers, Hager said.
An individual who doesn’t have health insurance for himself and his family could face a 1 percent penalty on annual income in 2014.
There is still confusion about the announcement, and this is an “incredibly complex law,” Hager said.
Mike McMahon, administrator of the state Division of Welfare and Family Services, previously said he expects a large increase in those applying for Medicaid. Under the revised eligibility standards, McMahon said the 340,000 Nevada residents on Medicaid will grow to 490,000.
Medicaid is the state-run health insurance program for low-income individuals and families.