Fewer than 400 Nebraskans have signed up for health insurance under the federal law as the United States Department of Health and Human Services releases numbers far short of projections.
Federal officials report only 106,185 Americans registered for health insurance during the first month the individual mandate took effect. Only 338 have signed up in Nebraska.
Only about 27,000 of the sign-ups came from the 36 states in which the federal government is running the health insurance exchange, including Nebraska. The remaining 79,000 came through the 15 exchanges run by the states.
“There’s a significant discrepancy here, as millions are losing their plans only thousands are signing up for plans through the exchanges,” Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican, told Nebraska reporters during a conference call.
Approximately 3.5 million Americans have been notified that their current health insurance plans do not conform to the requirements of the law and have been canceled. It has been estimated that as many as 10 million Americans might be forced to seek new health coverage under the law.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, the state’s largest health insurance company, reports it has sent out 46,000 cancellation notices for policies covering more than 80,000 Nebraskans.
Fisher said that even though some members of Congress have been working on legislation to allow Americans satisfied with their health insurance coverage to keep it, it will be difficult to do since notices have been sent out and insurance companies have been working to conform to the law’s provisions.
Sen. Mike Johanns said Congress will work to address concerns being raised about the law, but he added that, ultimately, the law must be repealed.
“This is a mess and we’ve got to grab ahold of it, we’ve got to start taking it a step at a time, but the first step, the first step is got to get rid of the law, you’ve got to repeal it,” Johanns told Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this report.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]