Las Vegas Sun

December 12, 2017

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Emergency regulations to be issued for health insurance facilitators

To prevent fraud and false information, emergency regulations will be issued by the state within the week to license those providing guidance to small businesses and consumers about buying federally required health insurance.

Complicating the task, state insurance executives say, are the constant changes the federal government is making to rules for the Care Act.

State Insurance Commissioner Scott Kipper said Wednesday there is “a lot of misinformation about the options” available to small businesses about how to comply with the law that kicks in Jan. 1.

The Nevada Insurance Division and the State Health Insurance Exchange will conduct mass information campaigns, including going door to door and supplying data for children in schools to bring home to their parents. More than 700,000 individuals or businesses will be contacted.

The exchange will operate a network of insurance companies that sign up to offer help to businesses and consumers who want to get health coverage. The exchange has negotiated with companies to supply 116 so-called “facilitators” to help consumers look at the costs and benefits of the companies that sign up.

Kipper said less than 10 companies so far have shown interest in joining the exchange. Consumers also can buy coverage from companies that do not join the exchange.

The emergency regulations created by the Insurance Division, which must be signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, will require those working in the exchange to undergo fingerprinting and background checks and pass an examination on the knowledge of the law. A passing grade of 80 will be required for certification, the highest in the nation, state officials said.

The exchange expects more than 100,000 people and small businesses to sign up through its system.

The exchange starts operating Oct. 1 and the coverage begins Jan. 1. Persons who do not have health insurance can be penalized 1 percent of their income.

Cliff King of the Insurance Division said small businesses may be happy keeping their present policies for workers, or they may want choose to go through the exchange to find cost savings and better coverage for employees.

President Barack Obama the requirement for companies with 50 or more workers to provide the health coverage. Hager, director of the health exchange, said earlier he did not anticipate the delay having a big impact in Nevada. Those workers will still be required to have health insurance or face the penalties.

Under the federal law, people will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid coverage rather than buy health insurance. The state expects its number of eligible residents to increase from 340,000 to 490,000 persons.

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