While Affordable Care Act insurance providers are raising premiums next year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports Nebraskans will still find affordable options.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, and Medica are increasing premiums 30 to 39 percent, on average, in Nebraska.
J.J. Green, Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters president, says there are a few reasons for the increase.
One is the Republican-controlled Congress cut a lot of the funding meant to help insurance companies.
“Only about 12 percent of the money that was promised the insurance companies to come back and help them pay those large claims were ever given back by the federal government,” Green tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So the insurance companies got stuck with about 88 percent of the claims that they thought were going to be covered, and so the only way to make up for that was these rate increases.”
Green says larger than expected medical claims is another reason for the rate increase.
“There’s just not enough people, especially young people, who are in the system yet,” he says. “So, the claims have been going a lot higher than anybody ever expected.”
Healthier people are not buying insurance, and therefore not paying into the system to help offset costs.
Still, HHS reports federal tax credits will help most Nebraskans buying insurance on healthcare.gov.
“Those folks who have purchased a subsidized tax credit policy through healthcare.gov, they may not see any of these rate increases,” Green notes. “Yet there are a lot of people who don’t qualify for subsidies, and those are the people who are going to get hammered on these rate increases.”
Three companies offer insurance through the exchange in Nebraska – Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, and Medica.
HHS points out that most can get a plan for less than $75 per month.
Open enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016.