Nebraska health insurance tips

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Nebraska insurance law and regulation

The Nebraska Department of Insurance Web site contains information for consumers who have unresolved complaints against an insurance company.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (402) 471-2201 or by mail at 941 O Street, Suite 400 Lincoln, NE 68508. The state children’s health insurance Medicaid plan (CHIP) Web site is Nebraska Kids Connection.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

11/17/2018 – Nebraska Critical Access Hospitals Conference on Quality was held this week where The Chartis Center for Rural Health joined the Nebraska Office of Rural Health in recognizing top 10 overall performance in Quality among the state’s Critical Access Hospitals. All of Nebraska’s top performing hospitals are covered by the plans available through Freedom Benefits.
President Trump signing
President Trump authorizes new health plan options
New health plan options are available this month as authorized by President Donald Trump.

The history of health care planning in Nebraska (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

12/23/2015 Almost 79,000 Nebraska residents enrolled for 2016 health insurance coverage through the government-run individual insurance exchange. About 8 out of 10 applicants received premium subsidies and most of the enrollees paid less than $75 per month for their coverage after the subsidies. The statistics show that the insurance exchange is more effective for lower income individuals but not so effective in meeting the needs of higher-earning working class residents.10/20/2015 Insurance regulators will shut down CoOportunity Health in January 2016 after receiving $144 million in federal funding. Its 120,000 members in Iowa and Nebraska will be sent to find commercial coverage through the state insurance exchange.

12/10/2014 – At least five insurance companies offer individual health insurance in Nebraska for 2015: Assurant, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Co-opportunity Health, Coventry and Unitedhealthcare. The state will coninue to allow the federal government to operate its online insurance marketplace.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Nebraska residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska and UnitedHealthcare are the state’s largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called “Help Me Choose” lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

2/7/2011 The state’s pre-existing condition insurance plan (PCIP) issued monthly premium rates. PCIP will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, beginning on your coverage effective date, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition – there are no waiting periods. PCIP applicants who are approved to participate in PCIP can choose from three plan options, with different levels of premiums, calendar year deductibles, prescription deductibles and prescription copays. The HSA Option provides an opportunity to open a Health Savings Account, a tax-exempt account where you can deposit funds for eligible medical expenses. Each of the three PCIP plan options provides preventive care (paid at 100%, with no deductible) when you see an in-network doctor and the doctor indicates preventive diagnosis. Included are annual physicals, flu shots, routine mammograms and cancer screenings. For other care, you will pay a deductible before PCIP pays for your health care and prescriptions. After you pay the deductible, you will pay 20% of medical costs in-network. The maximum you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services in a calendar year is $5,950 in-network/$7,000 out-of-network. There is no lifetime maximum or cap on the amount the plan pays for your care. If you apply for PCIP coverage on the government Web site, you will be billed for the premium once your application is approved. You will need to send in your payment in order for your coverage to be effective. Please do not send in the premium before you are billed. Note that your premium may increase if you age into a higher rate tier, or if PCIP adjusts its premiums to any changes in the commercial market.

12/16/2010 Nebraska Department of Insurance officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Nebraska said that it would: 1) Develop a list of the stakeholders within the State who will provide input regarding the State’s decision about whether to operate the Exchange, on what basis to operate an Exchange, and planning and implementation of the Exchange, 2) Develop a description of how an Exchange would build on and integrate with existing State and Federal programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, 3) Assess potential current and future staff levels, contracting capabilities and needs, and information technology for operation of an Exchange, and 4) Conduct an initial assessment of information technology systems and the need for modifications or new systems to facilitate eligibility and enrollment and other Exchange functions.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Nebraska is now available at Freedom Benefits.

3/23/2010 Nebraska and ten other states including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington will make a joint legal challenge to the federal health reform bill on the basis that it improperly usurps state sovereignty over health insurance and that requiring health insurance is an illegal and improper government action.