Insurance chief touts element of health care law

Dependents can get health insurance in Nevada even if an employer offers it only to workers and not their families, Nevada Insurance Commissioner Scott Kipper said Tuesday.

Kipper, speaking to about 25 employers or other observers at the Silver Oak Conference Center, said that decision came the previous day as Affordable Care Act sign-up continues. If an employer limits coverage to employees, he said, dependents can go to the Silver State Insurance Exchange and get coverage with premiums that include federal subsidies. He said only states providing their own exchanges, such as Nevada, can offer that option.

“We’re excited to put that out,” said Kipper, calling his announcement “one breaking piece of news” he was able to share.

Kipper also said there have been hardware and software glitches with the state exchange health insurance products available through the Internet, just as there have been with those at the federal level. But he expressed confidence that such problems will be resolved in Nevada.

“We’re going to get there,” he said. He also said Nevadans can purchase both individual and employer insurance online.

Kipper wasn’t coy about the price of insurance under the ACA, referred to by some as Obamacare.

“There’s going to be some sticker shock,” he said, but he also took note of some federal suggestions that such shock wasn’t as bad as expected. “I’m not sure I buy that rhetoric just yet.”

Kipper also recommended that any employers covered by ACA, if they had an insurance broker before it became law, should stick with or have a broker as the act’s enrollment period rolls on and future ACA changes come about. Brokers are qualified to provide timely and pertinent advice, he said.

“They’re going to be most helpful as you work through the decisions that you have to make,” he said. The act requires employers with 50 workers, or the full-time equivalent of that number, to offer health care coverage or face what is being called an assessment that goes to the Internal Revenue Service. That was among the things spelled out in a 22-page booklet Kipper passed out to audience members. He said it provides key facts.

Kipper also said his division and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office are mounting an awareness campaign to warn consumers about scams that might come along with the enrollment period.

The morning meeting on the ACA was put on by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.


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