The Nebraska Insurance Department has issued a new report to state lawmakers concerning the state’s health insurance exchange. Nebraska has been exploring its options on how best to execute the exchange program, hoping to find a way for the program to benefit both consumers and insurance companies. The state has yet to make any definitive action on the program apart from investigating how much it will cost and how it can be made self-sustaining. The new report may cast some doubt on the future of the program.
According to the report, as many as 100,000 Nebraskan residents will have to enroll into the program for it to be viable. State-run exchanges are required to be fully sustainable by federal law. The requirement may be more difficult to meet than the federal government first anticipated, as insurers and consumers have shown only timid support thus far.
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The report also shed some light on how many people are currently insured in the state. The report notes that approximately 205,000 Nebraskans currently do not have health insurance of any kind. Lack of insurance is highest amongst residents between the ages of 18 and 34 and those in low-income households. The exchange program is designed for these people specifically as it will enable them to find affordable insurance coverage.
Department Director Bruce Ramge suggests that education is pivitol to the success of the program and is encouraging lawmakers to pressure the federal government to answer some of the questions insurers have regarding the initiative. Depending on these answers, insurers may be more accepting of the initiative.