Sign up for the Affordable Care Act officially goes officially starts Tuesday and Nebraskans have six months to select and sign up for health insurance or face a penalty. Tom Gilsdorf is the Director of Product Development with Blue Cross & Blue Shield and says right now they are informing those with private insurance coverage of the changes. Those letters explain expanded benefits, how they are allowed to set premiums, pediatric and maternity services included in plans and the new price.
Gilsdorf says the price changes are “all over the board”. He says those under 30 will likely see the highest increase. He says those in their 50’s could see a drop in rates.
The big question is why are these rates increasing so dramatically? Gilsdorf says there are several reasons. One is expanded benefits. They are required to cover more services. He says pre-existing conditions are now covered and both of those increase rates. Gilsdorf says insurance companies also have to follow the “3 to 1 rule”. He says the highest premium rate, which is typically older policy holders because they require more services, can’t be more than three-times the lowest rate, what we would typically charge someone in their 20’s. Today that factor is about 5 or 6 to one and when you compress that to 3 to one you see higher prices for those younger individuals.
Gilsdorf warns those who just want to pay the penalty and not carry insurance and then obtain coverage when they become ill not to do so. He says there is only a specific window where citizens can sign up for coverage and if you miss that you are out of luck. The window that opens October 1st closes March 31st.