Insurance plan

The Senate adopts a “public option” health insurance plan

The Nevada Legislative Building in Carson City on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Photo: David Calvert/The Nevada Independent

The Nevada Senate on Tuesday passed an ambitious plan to create a “public option” health insurance program for all Nevada residents.
SB420 aims to create health insurance policies for individuals that are at least as good as Medicare but provide coverage at lower costs than Medicare.
The bill passed on a party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans unanimously opposed.
The legislation, which is now before the Assembly, directs the head of health and human services, the executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange and the insurance commissioner to ask the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services for a waiver to obtain transfer funding to pay for the program as well as other waivers to obtain funding to support the plan, potentially including the Social Security Act.
It authorizes these officials to seek any other federal funding to pay for the plan.
Any money received would be deposited in a trust fund created by SB420.
The plan would be available to all Nevada residents and for small employers who could join to help provide coverage for their workers.
Insurance policies would be purchased through the Health Insurance Exchange and should provide at least the levels of coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act, but cost at least 5% less than the “benchmark premium” for a code postal given. Price increases would be limited to the increase in Medicare’s economic index for that year.
The public option program would not be operational until 2025.