Margaret Huntley Last Updated On: August 10, 2023

Here’s How to Find Affordable Health Insurance in Nebraska

There’s nothing like living in Nebraska. From Husker games to eating Runzas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s lots to love about the Cornhusker State. But Nebraskans can easily become overwhelmed by their health insurance options and miss out on savings, better coverage, and peace of mind. 

So Nebraskans, keep reading for everything to know about your health insurance plan options in the great state of Nebraska, so you can get the healthcare coverage you need and want. 

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Table of Contents

Options for Health Insurance in Nebraska

Your health insurance can come from a variety of sources, depending on your job, your income, your health, and more. Here are the main avenues of health insurance in Nebraska:

  • Private: Anyone can purchase private health insurance. There are two ways to do it: directly from an insurance provider or agent, or through the ACA Marketplace ( Nebraska uses a marketplace plan management exchange, meaning they use the federal exchange but retain oversight and management of the plans available. 
    • Marketplace plans are available in four tiered plan options to suit different budgets/healthcare needs. We’ll explore those later. 
  • Government
    • Medicare: Medicare is federal health insurance available to anyone over the age of 65 or for those with qualifying diseases or disabilities. Over 367,000 Nebraskans are enrolled in Medicare. Medicare is broken into four separate parts and you can choose which parts to enroll in:
      • Part A: Hospital coverage (inpatient care in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care)
      • Part B: Doctor coverage, for tests, preventative care, medical equipment, etc. 
      • Part C: Medicare Advantage (Medicare-approved plan from a private company), which includes Parts A, B, sometimes D, and added items like vision and dental.
      • Part D: Prescription drug coverage
      • Medicaid: Medicaid is a low-income health insurance program that offers free health care. In Nebraska, the program is called Heritage Health and covers adults with income of up to 138% of the poverty level. There are 72,000 adults enrolled in Medicaid in Nebraska. You can also qualify for Medicaid if you fall into the below categories:
        • Pregnant women with household income up to 199% of poverty level
        • Children with household income up to 218% of poverty level
        • People who have a disability that makes them eligible for Medicare earlier than age 65
      • Employer-Sponsored: Many employers offer health insurance and cover some or all of the premiums for you. If they have 50 or more full-time employees, they’re required to offer health insurance. This can be an affordable option since part of the premiums can be covered.
        • If you lose your job, you can maintain the same healthcare coverage for up to 36 months, depending on your circumstances, through COBRA. Note, your ex-employer is no longer required to pay for your premiums, so your costs can increase through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), despite having the same coverage.
          • Curious if employer-based health insurance or individual health insurance is better for you? Find out more here
      • Short-Term: Short-term health insurance in Nebraska is private health insurance that’s available for up to 36 months. This can help you bridge the gap between jobs, until you’re eligible for Medicare, or to give you time to find the right plan for you. Keep in mind, short-term health insurance can be more costly and they don’t have to cover pre-existing conditions. 

These are your main options for health insurance coverage in Nebraska. The good news is that you have options when it comes to your health and have the freedom to choose which option works best for your health and your budget.

Marketplace Plan Tiers

As mentioned, ACA Marketplace plans are broken into tiers. This helps guide you to the right plan for your needs. The tiers are as follows: 

  • Bronze: This gives you the lowest premiums, but it means you’ll pay more out-of-pocket when you do need healthcare services. You’ll also pay higher deductibles. Typically, you’ll end up paying 40% of costs, with the plan covering the other 60%. If you’re young and healthy, Bronze might suffice for your healthcare needs. 
  • Silver: This is the next step up from Bronze, with slightly higher premiums but more affordable out-of-pocket costs. Silver is also the only plan tier eligible for cost-sharing subsidies, which can significantly lower your costs if you’re eligible. Otherwise, Silver plan members pay roughly 30% of costs, with the plan covering the other 70%. 
  • Gold: Gold is a premium tier with high premiums but low out-of-pocket costs and deductibles. Gold is a great option for those that have recurring healthcare needs and high medical costs. Plan members pay about 20% of costs, and then plan covers 80%. 
  • Platinum: This is the highest level plan, with the highest premiums and lowest out-of-pocket costs. You’ll pay just 10% of costs, and the plan typically covers the other 90%. 
  • Catastrophic: There’s one additional category called Catastrophic, offering very low premiums (often lower than Bronze), a high deductible, and higher out-of-pocket costs. This plan is designed for just emergency coverage, since it only covers essential services and preventative care. You also need to qualify for this plan, by being under the age of 30 and having an affordability or hardship exemption. 

These tiers are designed to help guide you to the plans that are right for you. But how do you determine which tier makes the most sense for your needs? Bronze and Silver are good if you’re relatively healthy and have less frequent healthcare needs. If you are eligible for the cost-sharing subsidies of Silver, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

Gold and Platinum end up being more cost effective if you have regular healthcare needs and want to access your coverage sooner, thanks to the lower deductible. And with higher premiums built into your budget, you can feel more comfortable getting the care you need when you need it, thanks to the lower out-of-pocket costs. 

Still not sure? Speak to an insurance agent or contact us here.

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The Average Cost of Nebraska Health Insurance Plans

Health insurance can be a major expense in any household, even if you and your loved ones are generally healthy. Skimping on coverage is never a good idea, because it leaves you with less options should something happen and can drain your finances. 

Luckily, there are tried-and-true tips to save money on healthcare costs, but before we get into that, it helps to know roughly how much you can expect to spend on health insurance in Nebraska.

Here are some quick numbers to put it into perspective:

  • An individual plus a child can expect to pay $1,042 per month
  • A couple aged 40 can expect to pay $1,303 per month
  • A family of four (with two kids) can expect to pay $2,083 per month
  • From 2022 to 2023, the average cost of all health plans increased by just $1 per month
  • The lowest an individual in Douglas County can expect to pay is $550 a month on average, but in Buffalo County, that baseline jumps to $557 a month

We can also dig a little deeper into average costs by plan tier:

  • A 21-year-old can expect to pay $326 a month for a Catastrophic plan, $414 per month for Bronze, $510 monthly for Silver, and $520 for Gold
  • A 40-year-old can expect to pay $417 a month for a Catastrophic plan, $540 per month for Bronze, $652 monthly for Silver, and $664 for Gold
  • A 60-year-old can expect to pay $1,125 for Bronze, $1,384 for Silver, and $1,410 monthly for Gold

Understanding the average costs in Nebraska can help you better plan your budget. Keep in mind, your actual costs can vary significantly based on factors like your health, age, location, plan type and more. 

Next, we’ll explore ways to find affordable health insurance in Nebraska.

How to Find Cheap Health Insurance in Nebraska

With the cost of living on the rise, it helps to find savings anywhere you can. Health insurance is no exception, but you don’t have to drop to a lower tier plan just to save on costs. Here are some tips to keeping your healthcare expenses affordable this year:
  • Use Preventative Care: Most health insurance plans come with preventative care, including screenings, tests, vaccines, check ups, and more. Using this coverage can help you maintain good health and avoid costly bills down the line. Get more info on preventative care here
  • Stay In Network: Most insurers have negotiated discounts for preferred doctors and pharmacists. By staying in your plan’s network, you can take advantage of those discounts and save big. 
  • Opt for Generic Drugs: Whenever possible, ask your doctor/pharmacist for the generic version of a drug rather than the brand-name version. It’s the same medication but without the brand-name markup.
  • Ask for Discounts: Before (or even after) a healthcare service, ask the provider if there are any discounts for paying upfront or by cash. And while you’re at it, check with your insurance to ensure a service is covered first, so there are no surprises when it comes time to pay. 
  • Check for Tax Savings: If your healthcare costs exceed a certain amount, you could be eligible for an income tax deduction. While you’re at it, check to see if you qualify for any government healthcare programs like Medicaid or CHIP and if not, any tax credits or subsidies. For example, a two-person household making between $17,420 and $69,680 per year qualifies for premium tax credits. Find more details here.
  • Review Your Plan Annually: Open enrollment is when you can make changes to your plan and it’s the perfect time to review your coverage to make sure your plan is still working for you. If it’s not, shop around for a plan that better fits your needs and budget. 
    • Note: You don’t always have to wait for open enrollment to change plans. If you’ve had a qualifying life event like a marriage, divorce, birth, death and more, you could qualify for a special enrollment period to change your health insurance plan. 
Health insurance will always be a big expense in the U.S., but you can make it more affordable for you and your family with these tips. You can’t always control unexpected healthcare costs, but you can work to reduce your premiums and out-of-pocket costs as much as possible so that an unexpected health issue doesn’t drain your finances.

Find the Best Health Insurance in Nebraska

Having great health insurance matters; it helps protect you and your family from exorbitant healthcare costs and gives you the freedom to get minor issues treated before they spiral out of control. But many get overwhelmed by their options and the complexity of the healthcare system.

By now, we hope your options are clearer and you have a better idea of what you can expect to pay for your healthcare. Next, it’s time to get access to free quotes by clicking here and continuing on your journey to find the very best health insurance in Nebraska for you and your family. 

To health!

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