First Look at Health Insurance for 2017

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First Look at Health Insurance for 2017

We’ve heard that health insurance premiums will be going up in 2017…a lot. There’s also been news about insurance company changes. Here’s an update.

Three insurance companies will be offering individual / family coverage in Nebraska in 2017 – Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield, and Medica. All 3 companies will offer products both on-exchange (through and off-exchange (directly from the insurance company).

  • Aetna is the parent company of Coventry. In 2017, policies will be offered under the Aetna brand rather than Coventry. All 2016 Coventry individual policies will end on 12/31/16. Those policies will NOT automatically renew into an Aetna plan. Policyholders need to select new coverage for 2017. Aetna recently made a decision to withdraw from “on-exchange” business in many states. However, the company will continue to offer on-exchange coverage in 4 states – Nebraska, Iowa, Delaware, and Virginia.
  • BlueCross BlueShield will also offer products both “on” and “off” the exchange. Changes have been made in the network of hospitals and doctors in the Lincoln area. BCBS has offered the SelectBlue network in the Omaha area and is now extending it to Lincoln. There will be a narrower panel of providers that participate in the network. However there is also a lower premium when you agree to stay within the SelectBlue network.
  • Medica was introduced in Nebraska and Iowa in 2016 and will continue in 2017. The company is also expanding into Kansas next year. Midlands Choice will remain as the network of medical providers that Medica utilizes.
  • United Healthcare is NOT offering individual / family health insurance policies in Nebraska in 2017. 2016 policyholders need to select new coverage for next year.

The Nebraska Department of Insurance has published a rate comparison chart that shows the change in rates from 2016 to 2017.

Use this link to access the chart:

The choices for group insurance coverage in 2017 will include Aetna / Coventry, BlueCross BlueShield, and United Healthcare. There are additional companies offering self-funded plans. Changes in benefits, networks, and premium are based on the contract renewal date of a group plan. The date can be January 1st, but is not required to be.

Rate increases for group insurance are more moderate than individual policies. In fact, for the first time, premiums for group insurance plans will be lower than a comparable individual plan. This should prompt small business owners who do not offer group benefits to reconsider this option. Historically, it has been less expensive to have an individual policy, but that is no longer true. Many middle and upper income individuals are not eligible for financial assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace and must pay the full premium when purchasing their own coverage.

ComPro will show you what the choices are and help you evaluate the best course of action for your business or family.

by Chris McPike, Vice President
ComPro Insurance

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