by Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put out the word today that a new affordable health insurance plan is available for Nevadans with pre-existing medical conditions.
The plan, offered through the new federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will serve as a bridge to cover this group of people between today and Jan. 1, 2014, when the major provisions of the law take effect, said Herb Shultz, regional director of HHS for Nevada.
The rates for Nevadans who are eligible for the coverage have also been reduced by 37.5 percent, making the insurance even more affordable, he said.
“Both kids and adults, who have pre-existing medical conditions – cancer, diabetes, asthma – many for the first time will be able to get comprehensive health care coverage because the affordable care act makes it able for people who have been denied health insurance before to now be eligible to get affordable quality health insurance,” Shultz said.
David Sayen, Medicare’s regional administrator for Nevada, said the comprehensive health care plan includes access to 8,800 physicians, 480 pharmacies and 57 hospitals. It is operated by GEHA, a nonprofit organization that provides health care coverage to federal employees and retirees.
The coverage is available to U.S. citizens and legal residents who have a pre-existing medical condition and who have not had insurance for the six months prior to filing an application. Barriers to enrollment have also been eased, Sayen said.
“This is historic and groundbreaking,” Shultz said. “And this will not only give peace of mind to individuals and families and to communities, it is what is important about this law – is that people with pre-existing conditions can get access to affordable, quality health insurance.”
Information about the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan can also be obtained by calling 1-866-717-5826; (TTY: 1-866-561-1604). Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern Time.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has opted to prepare for the implementation of the new health care law even though the state is one of 26 involved in a joint legal challenge to it. Various legal challenges to the law are making their way through the federal courts and are expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The pre-existing insurance plan is being operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of the state, however.
Herb Shultz, regional director of HHS for Nevada, says those with pre-existing conditions will be able to get affordable health insurance for the first time:
Shultz says the new coverage is historic and groundbreaking: