Nebraska Health Insurance Exchange Rates Released
Four insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Health Alliance Midwest Inc., Coventry Health Care of Bethesda, Md. And CoOportunity, will be selling qualified insurance plans on the Nebraska health insurance exchange beginning on October 1. Sample rates were also released, but they are only a representation of typical rates. They do not include subsidies and lower-cost health plans that will be available to Nebraska residents.
The rates released are to be used as a preliminary comparison for residents who want to be able to see similar plans side-by-side. All Americans, with a few exceptions, must purchase a qualified health plan by January 1, 2014 or pay an annual penalty for noncompliance. The federal subsidies are intended to lower the cost of premiums for low-income people.
Rates Based on Silver and Gold PlansBased on the rates released by the Nebraska Department of Insurance, many Nebraska residents will see an increase in premiums if they purchase health insurance plans on the Nebraska health insurance marketplace. However, the rates were based on the Silver and Gold plans and do not reflect rates for the lowest-level Bronze plan.
In addition, the final rates will depend on several factors, including age, region, tobacco use, level of existing insurance and the new plan that is chosen. Moreover, federal subsidies will likely lower the cost for low-income residents to make the plans more affordable. Exact rates and plan descriptions will not be available until October.
As an illustration, Blue Cross has a Bronze plan that will cost a 26-year-old individual $195 per month, which is significantly less than the $239 per month Silver plan mentioned by the Department of Insurance. A family of four would pay $867 per month for a Silver plan on the Nebraska health insurance exchange, but for a Bronze plan, it would only be $710 per month. A husband and wife would pay $1,707 for a Silver plan on the Nebraska health insurance exchange, but only $1,038 for a Bronze policy.
Following document released by Nebraska Department of Insurance shows the rate scenario comparing rates for various age group.
Outreach Grants Available
Six health centers operating 33 sites across Nebraska have received six federal grants worth $678,562 to allow them to hire 13 more employees. The funds will be used to provide assistance with health insurance questions and enrollment on the Nebraska health insurance exchange for more than 23,000 people. In 2012, these centers served more than 62,000 patients, of which 51 percent were uninsured.
In addition, two community groups received navigator grants as part of the federal government’s $67 million navigator program. The Department of Health and Human Services provided funding to 105 organizations in the 34 states that have federally-facilitated or state-partnership exchanges. The Nebraska health insurance exchange is a federally-facilitated marketplace.
The two organizations in Nebraska that will produce navigators to assist residents with the enrollment process into health insurance plans on the Nebraska health insurance marketplace are Community Action of Nebraska, Inc. and Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. The funds are to be used not only for enrollment, but also for education and awareness programs.
Navigators are a requirement of the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare to provide unbiased healthcare advice and assistance to residents. They will be available online, over the telephone and in person. More information on ObamaCare is available here.