Some who don’t have health insurance today should have a smoother path to insurance beginning Oct. 1.
Tom Gilsdorf, director of product development for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, estimated that 169,000 Nebraskans who are uninsured or of low- to moderate-income will be able to peruse the online marketplace to calculate eligibility for a tax credit, compare insurance plans and sign up.
The marketplace will give options to people without access to health insurance through their employer to shop for coverage individually.
It will exist for those at 100 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The lower the income in that range, the higher the tax credit, which will subsidize the cost of that person’s insurance. One hundred percent of the federal poverty level this year for a family of four is $23,550. Four hundred percent for a family of four is $94,200.
The insurance marketplaces aren’t for those with Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare. Those with group insurance through their employers generally will get information about 2014 coverage at their workplace.
Andrea Skolkin, chief executive officer of OneWorld Community Health Centers, said she expects her clinics to see more working poor people and young people who are newly insured as a result of the insurance marketplace.
The marketplace might even help some middle-income families by subsidizing a bit of their health insurance, Skolkin said. She said she expects her clinics to be swamped and initially will dedicate about 10 staffers to help people understand the marketplace and how to use it.
Nebraska leadership has chosen not to participate in another key element of the Affordable Care Act. That element is Medicaid expansion, which was designed to provide Medicaid to more low-income individuals. Although the law initially required each state to expand Medicaid, the U.S. Supreme Court last year said whether they participate must be left to the states.
Iowa has chosen to provide a form of Medicaid expansion. Also unlike Nebraska, Iowa will oversee its insurance marketplace jointly with the federal government. Nebraska will leave it all to the feds to manage.
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