Affordable Care Act 2.0: ‘Figure it out as we go’
Affordable Care Act 2.0 presents challenges to seamless transitions and health care coverage decision making, as did the 1.0 version, according to Nevada Insurance Commissioner Scott Kipper.
Kipper told participants at a recent Nevada Business Connections breakfast meeting in Carson City’s Gold Dust West that decisions and possible changes emanating from inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. can make things dicey both for businesses and individuals.
He said, for example, a Nevada Insurance Department brochure to help business with Affordable Care Act (ACA) decision making during ACA 1.0 was “rendered useless” two days after it arrived due to a federal delay on applying the law to businesses years ago. He said now the 2.0 version again envisions changes to business application, but there’s still discussion inside the Beltway about holding off on them.
“We’re trying to figure this out as we go,” Kipper said of dealing with ACA.
“Make sure you talk to a broker, a benefits specialist, and I would also say do it early,” Kipper counseled business people present. He also said for both individuals and business people, the state has instituted website guidance and a smart phone app to help deal with maze-like government and insurance field language and situations. He said the app lets people compare rates and even file complaints.
“State government is a dinosaur sometimes,” he said, but added his staff strives “to break down the barriers.”
The state insurance commissioner said he oversees a staff of 85, which deals with 2,200 insurance companies operating in Nevada. The insurance field generates $260 million in premium taxes for the Silver State, he said, and another $30 million in fees.
Originally from Wyoming, Kipper worked here in 2009 and 2010, then went to Louisiana as an upper-echelon state insurance official before returning to Nevada 3.5 years ago. He said he went to Louisiana right after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and environs. He lived in a rural cabin for three months, he said, as efforts were under way there to put things back together.
The Nevada Business Connections business group also heard from Ann Silver, executive director of JOIN, Inc. also referred to as Job Opportunities In Nevada.
JOIN, which has offices in Carson City, Reno and five other cities and serves 13 Northern Nevada counties, trains people for jobs throughout the region. Silver said the training is a private, non-profit organization funded primarily by the U.S. Labor Department and Nevadaworks.
The goal is to put clients into jobs paying $15 an hour or more via free services available to any eligible resident of Northern Nevada.
Silver said she targets clients who have lived here for some time, rather than newcomers, and who are willing to commit to the training and an ethic of showing up for jobs ready to learn and work. She said she can provide financial underpinning for training in 350 occupational courses.
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