Health Insurance in the Pandemic: Get Covered. Stay Covered.

Now, more than ever, everyone in our state needs affordable, quality health insurance. During this difficult time, it is vital that all Nebraskans know some of the coverage options available.

Getting and Staying Covered

If eligible, you may be able to enroll in Marketplace or Medicaid insurance.

Marketplace Insurance: If you lose your coverage, your household income changes, or you experience another qualifying event, you may be eligible for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace during a “Special Enrollment Period.” Normally, to get Marketplace coverage, you must sign up for coverage during a specific time during the year. However, a qualifying event can trigger a Special Enrollment Period. Depending on the type of Special Enrollment Period you qualify for, you may have 60 days before or 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan.

Visit or call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 for assistance over the phone to see if you can enroll in Marketplace coverage. Local assistance may also be available through Enroll Nebraska. These resources are available online or over the phone so you can practice social distancing and do not have to meet in person.

Medicaid: Depending on your income and whether you have certain characteristics (such as being a child or parent or being pregnant), you may be eligible for Medicaid coverage. There is no open enrollment period for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), meaning that you can apply for and receive coverage through these programs at any time.

You can apply through Access Nebraska through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

COBRA: If you had health coverage through your job and are no longer employed, you may be able to keep your health coverage through COBRA. More detailed information from the Nebraska Department of Insurance about health insurance options following a job loss can be found here.

COVID-19 Changes to Eligibility and Benefits

Medicaid Benefits Cannot Be Terminated: Generally, if you were enrolled in Medicaid as of March 18th, 2020, or are determined eligible on or after that date, your Nebraska Medicaid benefits cannot be terminated during the COVID-19 public health emergency through the last day of the month that the emergency ends, unless you request to voluntarily terminate your eligibility or you are no longer a state resident.

Coverage of COVID Testing: Medicaid, CHIP, and most major private insurers will cover testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing during the emergency. For more information about COVID-19 testing by major insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Bright Health, Medica, and UnitedHealthcare, please see this information from the Nebraska Department of Insurance. It is important to consult your insurer or benefit plan prior to seeking treatment to know what is covered. If you have insurance through your employer, it may be a “self-funded plan,” where coverage may be different. In this case, it is important to communicate with your human resources department about what your insurance covers.

Life is changing quickly across Nebraska with the spread of COVID-19. We’re facing a public health challenge that is unprecedented in modern history. This is why we must ensure every Nebraskan has access to quality, affordable coverage.

The strength of our state is the health and well-being of all Nebraskans.

If you have questions, please contact our Community Assistance Line.

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