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NV Braces For Possible Increases In Health Insurance Rates

The repeal of the individual mandate to buy health insurance has consumers and public officials wondering: what's next?

One report from the Center for American Progress suggests insurance premiums in Nevada could go up, on average, by more than $800 a year on the individual market as a result.

But is that true?

And are state officials here worried about the future of healthcare?

"We are anticipating that rates will go up for a variety of reasons," Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, told State of Nevada.

Korbulic said it was too early to put an actual number on how much premiums would go up. However, she said there were two main reasons for the jump in prices.

The first is the repeal of the individual mandate, which required everyone to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty.

The second is the expansion of short-term, limited-duration plans and associated health plans. The plans offer coverage for a short time period and they don't cover some basic medical needs. As a result, the plans are cheaper, Korbulic said.

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Because they're less expensive, Korbulic said the plans "will likely end up attracting younger healthier people out of the Exchange marketplace, which is just going to result in an increase in premiums for those individuals that remain."

Many of the companies offering short-term plans are targeting people who have been priced out of the marketplace because they're making too much to get federal subsidies to pay for premiums, and plans are getting more  expensive, Korbulic said.

Korbulic said there are a lot of factors that contribute to insurance rates, including insurance companies paying out more in claims than they thought, medical inflation and changes in benefits packages. 

But, uncertainty is also causing volatility in the prices.

"Right now, the uncertainty really comes from what’s going to happen next with federal rules, and what’s going to happen next with support from the feds, and that state around the Affordable Care Act & this individual market," she said.

Insurance companies submit rates to regulators in July, which means people could have a better idea of how much more they will pay in health insurance then.

For their part, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange will continue to try to get out its message that medical costs are expensive and people should get insurance to protect their families financially. 

Guests

Heather Korbulic, executive director, Silver State Health Insurance Exchange

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