News 4 examines Obamacare's impact on Nevada on the bill's 8th anniversary

News 4 examines Obamacare's impact on Nevada on the bill's 8th anniversary

Eight years ago today, former President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, bringing about sweeping changes to the healthcare industry.

How has Nevada been impacted by the law known as Obamacare?

The rate of uninsured Nevadans has dropped drastically over the last several years, from 23.5 percent in 2013 to 11.4 percent in 2016.

Heather Korbulic, the executive director of Nevada's health insurance exchange, estimated that the uninsured rate in 2017 was between 9 and 10 percent.

That drop in uninsured rates has coincided with thousands more Nevadans taking advantage of the state exchange, Nevada Health Link.

In 2014, the first year Nevadans were able to buy exchange plans, just 35,700 people enrolled in qualified health plans. That number has ballooned over the years, with 91,003 Nevadans picking plans for 2018.

At the same time, insurance premiums have increased every year, culminating in a 38 percent premium increase from 2017 to 2018.

Korbulic pointed to the lack of insurance carriers and continued uncertainty at the federal level as the cause for the huge spike. For some time, it appeared there would be zero insurance providers for 14 rural Nevada counties until Silver Summit expanded to cover all of Nevada's counties in August.

She said insurance premiums are likely to increase again in 2019 because of the recent move to repeal the individual mandate.

"We will probably see a reduction in our enrollment and we will probably see young, healthy people leaving the marketplace," Korbulic said.

Nevada has seen an economic benefit from the healthcare law. If the Affordable Care Act was repealed, 16,000 jobs would be lost, and Nevada would lose $1.3 billion in federal healthcare dollars, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

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