The public health emergency.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people nationwide have retained their Medicaid coverage as a result of the federal public health emergency (PHE) declaration enacted in January of 2020. This continued access to Medicaid has allowed individuals, families, and children to maintain insurance coverage throughout the pandemic and has provided critical healthcare protections to more than 860,000 vulnerable children and adults in Nevada alone.
With the end of the federal mandate requiring states provide continuous coverage to Medicaid enrollees during the PHE, an estimated 200,000 Nevadans need to update their Medicaid information for themselves or their children to ensure they have continued healthcare coverage, either through Medicaid or other insurance options.
While many people will remain eligible for Medicaid, the renewal process can take time. Individuals should take action now to ensure their information is up to date with The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. For those who find that they are no longer eligible, affordable and quality health insurance options may be available on https://www.nevadahealthlink.com.
Routine care remains foundational for better health
Healthcare coverage is important for everyone. It provides individuals and families with peace of mind to seek services when care is needed and helps to keep the overall cost of healthcare in every state under control.
Regular doctor visits allow individuals, children, and families to obtain preventive care, critical screenings and the services needed to achieve their best health.
For both children and adults, healthcare delays may mean missed opportunities to better manage chronic conditions, receive timely routine vaccinations or diagnose new conditions, which could negatively impact a person’s long-term health and well-being.
Importance of continued coverage
Now is the time for everyone who is receiving Medicaid to check their eligibility and determine if they need to take action on their coverage. We all have an important role to play in ensuring those covered by Medicaid are aware of the steps they should take to maintain access to continuous healthcare coverage.
Community-based organizations, healthcare providers and non-profits that support individuals on Medicaid are uniquely positioned to help educate people on the importance of the Medicaid renewal process.
While Medicaid renewals are not new, the process may be new for many due to the end of the continuous enrollment requirement. We must work together to educate Nevadans and help them maintain access to critical resources like healthcare coverage.
How to stay covered
In Nevada, individuals can renew their Medicaid coverage online at https://www.accessnevada.dwss.nv.gov.’
But not everyone has access to the Internet. In fact, as many as 7% of Nevadans lack Internet at home. The state provides a phone number that people can call to renew via phone, update their address and have renewal paperwork mailed to them: (702) 486-1646 (Southern Nevada) or (775) 684-7200 (Northern Nevada).
People who no longer qualify for Medicaid may find that private insurance available through the Nevada Health Link is more affordable than they expected. Options are listed at https://www.nevadahealthlink.com, and the phone number is (800) 547-2927.
Everyone should have access to high-quality equitable care, without having to worry that they will be unable to afford the bills. It is especially heartbreaking when families avoid annual well visits and routine immunizations for their children because of the costs—and do not realize help is available. At UnitedHealthcare, we are dedicated to supporting our members and connecting all Nevadans with resources to ensure they retain access to the care they need to live healthier lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelly Simonson is the President of Health Plan of Nevada’s Medicaid health plan where she leads strategic development, growth, compliance, and operations. Health Plan of Nevada is a UnitedHealthcare company. Before becoming President, Kelly managed the company’s home health business in Nevada. Kelly started her career as a registered nurse in the field of oncology.