A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that new, affordable health insurance is coming due to increased competition under the Affordable Care Act.The report runs contrary to claims by insurance companies that rates are set to soar sharply.
According to HHS, most Nebraskans will pay less for insurance, and premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected.
October marks the beginning of a six-month-long open enrollment through an online marketplace for individuals, which runs through March 2014.
People in Nebraska will have an average of 40 qualified health plan choices, the HHS report says.
Plans in the marketplace will be categorized as either “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze.”
In Nebraska, the average premium for the lowest-cost silver plan will be $298 a month and the lowest cost bronze plan will be $241/month, according to HHS.
Coverage begins as early as Jan. 1.
The average premium nationally for the second-lowest cost silver plan will be $328 a month before tax credits, or 16 percent below the amount projected through Congressional Budget Office estimates, according to the report.
In less than a week, a new health insurance marketplace will open for business with the aim of letting Americans shop for and buy health insurance coverage online.
Consumers will be able to find out if they qualify for premium assistance and compare plans side-by-side, based on pricing, quality and benefits, HHS said.
Nationwide, states with the lowest premiums have more than twice the number of insurance companies offering plans than states with the highest premiums, HHS said.
The report shows that a 27-year old in Nebraska who makes $25,000 per year will pay $98/month for the lowest cost bronze plan and $145/month for the silver plan, taking into account tax credits.
For a family of four in Nebraska with an income of $50,000/year, the bronze plan would cost $113 per month.
projected costs are less in Omaha, where there are more insurance companies competing. Omaha consumers will be able to choose from among 50 qualified health plans, according to HHS.
About 60 percent of people who are now uninsured today will be able to find coverage for $100 or less per month, taking into account premium tax credits and Medicaid coverage, HHS said.
“We are excited to see that rates in the Nebraska Marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” HHS Secretary Katherine Sebelius said. “In the past, consumers were too often denied or priced out of quality health insurance options.”
October marks the beginning of a six-month-long open enrollment period that runs through March 2014.
According to the HHS report, information will be available online at HealthCare.gov, or cuidadodesalud.gov.
To participate in an online web chat, call 1-800-318-2596 toll free (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).