Rural Nevadan 'devastated' to lose healthcare: 'We're at a loss of what to do'

Douglas County resident Heather Paterson-Lewis will have no options for healthcare on Nevada's exchange next year after Anthem dropped out earlier this week.

Heather Paterson-Lewis said she was "devastated" Wednesday to open up an email from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield.

The email outlined the company's intention to stop offering insurance plans on the individual marketplace in her county next year.

Paterson-Lewis, who has lived in Douglas County for 25 years, is one of roughly 8,000 rural Nevadans who will have no subsidized insurance options through the Affordable Care Act, after Anthem and Prominence opted to drastically reduce coverage in the state.

"We're all at a loss. We're at a loss of what to do."

"All those years of paying into insurance and never using it. Now I need it and I may not have it after January 1," Paterson-Lewis said.

Of the 8,000 Nevadans affected by the changes, around 5,000 live in Northern Nevada, according to Heather Korbulic, the executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.

"These are our neighbors. These are our fellow Nevadans that are going to be without access to health insurance," Korbulic said.

She noted that state officials continue to try to convince insurance carriers to stay in the state. They have until September 20 to change their mind.

"We're also working on solutions that might be within our authority and control. Things like 1332 federal waivers that would potentially incentivize carriers to come back into the marketplace," Korbulic said.

All current 2017 plans will continue to be offered through the remainder of the calendar year for 2017 coverage only.

Existing plan members will maintain their current coverage without interruption for the remainder of the calendar year.

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