How much will health insurance premiums cost in the Nebraska Insurance Marketplace?

Source: photospin

Source: photospin


The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data on insurance premium rates for the 36 states in which HHS will support or fully run the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014. HHS added a disclaimer to the release: “Plan data is in final stages but is still under review as of September 18 and may be revised in HHS systems before being displayed for consumers, so this information is subject to change.”

The report shows that the monthly premiums in Nebraska for a family of four will likely be:

  • $282 for those making $50,000 a year and getting federal subsidies
  • $744 for those making more than $94,200 a year and ineligible for federal subsidies

You can view data specific to Nebraska here.

If you would like to see what the rates will be in other states you can find it here.

CMS Office of the Actuary projects modest health spending growth

From CMS press release: “Consistent with past years’ findings, a report today from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary found that U.S. health care spending growth over the next ten years will be modest in comparison to historical trends, with increased spending the result of an improving economy and more accessible and affordable health coverage.  Low rates of health spending growth are anticipated to continue through 2013 in key areas such as hospital and drug spending. The study is currently available online and will be published in the October issue of the journal Health Affairs. The National Health Expenditure projections report, issued annually, contains estimates of spending for health care in the U.S. over the next decade by type of service and source of funding. As past years’ reports have found, this year’s report projected that health spending growth would rise in coming years from historically low levels due to more available and affordable care and an influx of baby boomers into the Medicare program with a greater need for health care as they age. The Actuary’s office also projected that rates of health care spending over the next decade in several major categories would be below their peak rates in the previous decade, including hospital and prescription drug spending, out-of-pocket spending, and Medicare spending.”

Proposed rule posted by CMS for Basic Health Plan program

Source: photospin

Source: photospin


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule establishing the standards for the Basic Health Program. The Basic Health Plan provision provides states the option to establish a health benefits coverage program for uninsured individuals with incomes between 133-200% FPL who would otherwise be eligible to receive premium subsidies in the Health Insurance Marketplace. This proposed rule sets forth a framework for Basic Health Program eligibility and enrollment, benefits, delivery of health care services, transfer of funds to participating states, state administration and federal oversight. View the proposed rule here.

Find Affordable Care Act help at Omaha Public Library

Omaha Public Library will partner with AARP and HR Benefit Group to offer a series of programs throughout October to help navigate the policies put in place by the new health care law. Three unique programs are open to the public and free of charge. Anyone who will be affected by the new law is encouraged to attend. More information and additional resources are available at

Health Insurance with the Affordable Care Act

An AARP representative will examine the options open to individuals and families under the new health care law and provide information on the types of health care plans available, where to sign up, and how to find assistance. Registration required.

·         Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m. at Millard Branch, 13214 Westwood Ln., 402.444.4848

·         Thursday, Oct. 3, 4:30 p.m. at Charles B. Washington Branch, 2868 Ames Ave., 402.444.4849

·         Saturday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m. at Benson Branch, 6015 Binney St., 402.444.4846

·         Monday, Oct. 7, 4:30 p.m. at South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., 402.444.4850

·         Wednesday, Oct. 9, 6 p.m. at Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St., 402.444.6284

·         Friday, Oct. 11, noon at W. Dale Clark Main Library, 215 S. 15th St., 402.444.4800

·         Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m. at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 W. Dodge Rd., 402.444.4852

·         Thursday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m. at Florence Branch, 2920 Bondesson St., 402.444.5299

·         Saturday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m. at Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave., 402.884.7473

·         Thursday, Oct. 24, 6 p.m. at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch, 2100 Reading Plz., 402.289.4367

·         Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2 p.m. at A.V. Sorensen Branch, 4808 Cass St., 402.444.5274

·         Wednesday, Oct. 30, 4:30 p.m. at Willa Cather Branch, 1905 S. 44th St., 402.444.4851

Individualized Help with the Health Insurance Marketplace

HR Benefit Group will provide navigators to help attendees make informed health insurance decisions, understand the marketplace, and compare insurance plans.

·         Mondays, Oct. 7, 21 and  28, 10 a.m. at W. Dale Clark Main Library

·         Tuesdays, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, noon at Willa Cather Branch

·         Tuesdays, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 4 p.m. at Charles B. Washington Branch

·         Wednesdays, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, noon at Florence Branch

·         Thursdays, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, 3 p.m. at South Omaha Library

The Affordable Care Act: Small Businesses & the Self-Employed

Small businesses and the self-employed will learn details needed to make informed decisions about the Affordable Care Act. Registration required.

·         Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6 p.m. at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch

·         Tuesday, Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. at Millard Branch

Visit for information about additional programs offered at Omaha Public Library’s 12 metro locations.

Final Rule Announced – Medicaid State Disproportionate Share Hospital Allotment Reductions

hchospitalside Expanded coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act through the Medicaid program and through Health Insurance Marketplaces is expected to significantly reduce uncompensated care borne by hospitals and other providers. Therefore, the Affordable Care Act requires aggregate reductions to state Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments annually from fiscal year (FY) 2014 through FY 2020. CMS released the final rule Friday September 13, 2013 on the methodology for determining the annual reductions to state-wide DSH allotments for all states for FY 2014 and 2015. In 2014, $500 million will be reduced in Medicaid DSH payments and $600 million will be reduced in 2015.

The Affordable Care Act also outlines the following factors that must be taken into account when developing the methodology:
(1) Low DSH states receive smaller reductions.
(2) States with lowest percentages of uninsured individuals receive larger reductions.
(3) States that do not target their DSH payments to hospitals with high volumes of Medicaid beneficiaries receive larger reductions.
(4) States that do not target their DSH payments on hospitals with high levels of uncompensated care receive larger reductions.
(5) States that have increased coverage under section 1115 demonstrations as of July 31, 2009, and adjusted their DSH allotments will have these adjustments taken into account.

From CMS: “A two-year methodology accommodates data refinement and methodology improvement before larger reductions begin in FY 2017. CMS will revisit the methodology and promulgate new rules to govern DSH reductions in FYs 2016 and beyond. The rule establishes separate DSH reduction pools for low-DSH states and non-low DSH states. The rule then creates a formula for distributing the reductions in each pool that gives one-third weight to the uninsured percentage factor. Another one-third is given to each of the two DSH payment targeting factors. The rule also contains a procedure for protecting allotments that support section 1115 demonstration coverage increases. The methodology encourages states to target Medicaid DSH payments to high Medicaid volume hospitals and hospitals with high levels of uncompensated care. For the years covered by this rule (FY 2014 and 2015), State decisions to expand Medicaid will not affect the amount of reduction in DSH allotments. We intend to revisit the methodology for DSH allotment reduction in future rulemaking.”


Visualizing Hospital Pricing




It’s no secret healthcare procedures often cost way more in the U.S. than they do in other countries. Healthcare costs also vary incredibly across different regions within the U.S. The health reform law has a provision that mandates greater transparency of data, which will arm the public with more information.

Beehive Media, a data visualization and design company, created interactive graphics to visualize hospital price data as part of a competition put on by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

If you would like to see how the price of certain medical procedures varies, say between Nebraska and Iowa, go here to play with Beehive’s cool visualization tool.