On Feb 10, 2016, the Nebraska Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee conducted a hearing and took public testimony on LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program.
Introduced by Senator John McCollister and co-sponsored by 15 other senators, LB 1032 would use the private health insurance market to help 77,000 working Nebraskans gain access to health care. Referred to as “premium assistance,” this approach enables families with too much income to qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage, but not enough to qualify for premium assistance tax credits, to purchase private market health insurance.
For three years Nebraska has waited while neighboring states experienced improved health outcomes by making healthcare accessible to the working poor. The Transitional Health Insurance Program is based on a proven model that will help rural Nebraska achieve the promise of its potential.
We urge the committee to advance this bill.
An overwhelming number of the 77,000 uninsured Nebraskans work in jobs that either do not offer insurance benefits or do not pay enough to allow workers to access insurance on their own. Fewer than half of Nebraska’s small business employees work for employers providing health insurance benefits. The majority of workers must pay the premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health insurance coverage, crowding out other uses for discretionary income, which harms local economies.
Rural Nebraska’s economy is built almost exclusively on small businesses and their employees, making passage of the Transitional Health Insurance Program even more vital to rural and small town Nebraska.
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