The open enrollment period to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins Wednesday.
The Nebraska Department of Insurance (NDOI) wants those who need coverage to start looking at options now, because the enrollment period is shorter this year, ending on December 15.
Nebraska only has one provider next year – Medica.
“But there will be different medal options within the offerings that Medica makes,” Martin Swanson, NDOI administrator for health policy, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Medica’s gold, silver, and bronze plans are available for review now healthcare.gov.
“If you are eligible for a subsidy, I’d encourage you to go take a look and see how much you’re eligible for and go shopping on the exchange,” Swanson says, “or work with an agent or broker, if you have questions about what you think best suits your needs.”
Swanson says 84,000 Nebraskans signed up for insurance during ACA open enrollment a year ago.
Ninety-four percent of them received tax credit assistance and 56 percent received cost-sharing subsidies.
Even with the debate over repeal and replace, and President Trump’s recent executive order ending cost-sharing subsidy funding, Swanson says those who need coverage should buy it.
“Folks should keep in mind there’s 60 days before anything will happen with regard to issuance of rules and regulations,” he points out. “There will be a comment period. It will take some significant time before anything is actually issued by the federal government with regard to the executive order. People should sign up to comply with the mandate and make sure that they have some kind of coverage.”
Swanson say the IRS recently issued an advisory, stating it would be checking tax returns to make sure people have health insurance through their employer or the marketplace. The IRS can fine those who do not have coverage.
The ACA has been a regular topic at recent NDOI forums across the state, especially dealing with costs and marketplace options.
“Aetna, Blue Cross, United Healthcare have all left the individual market because of business decisions that they’ve made, so there’s concern about how can we get competition back into our marketplace,” Swanson says. “We are working on that. These are business decisions and if companies are losing money, they’re not going to participate.”
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports. [:42]