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Nevada assisters forewarned: no advising on choice of plan

Health insurance agents and brokers nationwide worry that federally funded Assisters and exchange funded Navigators that help individuals and families sign up for health coverage offered through state exchange marketplaces will duplicate their own role.  A top Nevada insurance regulator sought to put those fears to rest at an educational symposium this week hosted by the Northern Nevada chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).

While state-certified assister personnel can assist people enroll in coverage sold on the state’s exchange marketplace, Nevada Health Link, they will not be permitted to help individuals and families select which plan is best for them.

Doing so is within scope of a producer license, noted Todd Rich, chief deputy commissioner of the Nevada Division of Insurance, who warned that regulators would “pull the ticket” of certified assister personnel found to be doing so.  (Nevada has opted to have its Division of Insurance certify and oversee assister personnel).  A primary enforcement method to ensure assisters operate within those boundaries: mystery shoppers.

State government not immune to health insurance crisis

State government employment was once regarded as one of the best deals going for health coverage, with rich benefit packages intended to compensate for lower salaries than those paid in the private sector.  No more if what’s happening in Nevada is indicative of a broader trend.

Nevada state workers now have health benefits that look like those offered employees by smaller private employers, replete with employer-funded health savings accounts (HSAs). And big deductibles to match.

Nevada state workers will pay annual deductibles of $1,900 for individuals and $3,800 for families in 2011.  The state will offset the deductibles by contributing to workers’ HSAs, $700 in the case of individuals, according to this story appearing over the weekend in the Nevada Appeal.

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