Four companies have declared their intentions to sell health insurance to Nebraskans who can’t get coverage from their employers.
The companies are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska; Coventry Health Care, of Bethesda, Md.; CoOportunity, a cooperative health care provider in Iowa and Nebraska that was created with federal financing; and Health Alliance Midwest Inc., a managed care company from Urbana, Ill.
The Nebraska Department of Insurance is reviewing the companies’ proposed rates, forms and plans, the Lincoln Journal said.
Gov. Dave Heineman decided to have the federal government run the state insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
Bruce Ramge, the state insurance director, said in an email to the Journal Star that his department will work with the federal government and the companies to ensure “that forms and rates that have been filed are in the proper format and have any corrections required by all parties completed before they are posted” on the Nebraska Insurance Department website.
That process should be finished this month. The forms and rates then will be available to the public on the website, Ramge said.
The companies will obtain final approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services next month, he said, assuming they don’t change their intentions.
Starting in October, people who don’t have health insurance through their workplaces will be required by the act to buy coverage. Depending on income, some people will be able to get tax credits and cost-sharing options to help pay for the insurance.
Next year people who don’t have health insurance can be penalized through the income tax system.
Six community health centers will be helping people choose and sign up for health insurance.
Also, Community Action of Nebraska has been awarded a federal grant to pay for a statewide network of “marketplace navigators” to help people acquire health coverage. Community Action is a network of the nine agencies serving Nebraska’s 93 counties.
Officials estimate that at least 217,000 Nebraskans don’t have health insurance.