Nebraska consumers find affordable options through Marketplace insurance plans

NE_Appleseed_Icons_AffordableCareAct-128A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that Nebraskans are finding affordable health insurance plans in the new Health Insurance Marketplace because of the competition and choice provided.

Nebraskans who selected silver plans, the most popular plan type, with tax credits paid an average premium of $79 per month through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Additionally in Nebraska, 64 percent of enrollees who selected Marketplace plans with tax credits had premiums of $100 a month or less, and 38 percent paid $50 a month or less after tax credits.

“This report shows that the Affordable Care Act is functioning as intended to make premiums affordable for Nebraskans, and the Marketplace is bringing much-needed competition to the insurance market,” said James Goddard, director of the Health Care Program at Nebraska Appleseed. “More than 40,000 Nebraskans enrolled in plans during the first ACA enrollment period, and much work is being done to help even more people in our state get covered during the next enrollment period beginning October 1.”

According to this report, on average, monthly premiums for Nebraskanswho selected plans in the Marketplace fell 69 percent after tax credits, dropping the cost of the average monthly premium from $308 before tax credits to $94 after tax credits across all plan types.

The Marketplace is also providing consumers with more easily comparable, quality health plan choices than ever before. In 2014, there were a total of 266 issuers in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, offering more than 19,000 Marketplace plans across all ratings areas, excluding catastrophic plans. Overall, 96 percent of people eligible to purchase a qualified health plan could choose from 2 or more health insurers in the Marketplace.  In 2013-2014, new issuers represent almost 26 percent of all issuers in the Marketplace nationwide.

“What we’re finding is that the Marketplace is working for Nebraskans.  Consumers have more choices, and they’re paying less for their premiums,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.  “When there is choice and competition, everybody benefits.”

The report also illustrates how the ACA’s affordability and accountability measures are working to combat price increases. Since the passage of the law, nationwide the proportion of insurance company requests for double-digit rate increases was cut by more than half. American consumers saved nearly $1.2 billion on their premiums in 2012 when compared to the amount originally requested by health insurance companies.

Health insurance companies also now have to spend at least 80 cents of each customer’s premium dollar on health care or improvements to care, or provide a refund.  In 2012, 42,036 Nebraskans received $2,000,151 in refunds – with the average Nebraskans receiving a refund of around $82 per family.

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