Delivering Value in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Nebraska legislators are considering establishing a new health insurance marketplace, a “one-stop shop” where Nebraskans can compare different health insurance plans and pick the one that works best for their family.
Our state senators face several important decision in setting up this new marketplace.

They could use the marketplace as a way to organize individuals and small businesses into larger groups that are able to negotiate for better deals with insurers. This is what big employers do now, pooling their large group of employees to get a better deal on insurance.

For too long, individuals and small businesses have gotten a raw deal on health insurance because they lack similar market clout.

If set up well, the new health insurance marketplaces will be able to organize individuals and small businesses into larger groups that are able to negotiate for better deals, making them more competitive.

Another important decision is how the health insurance marketplace will be governed. An independent board that puts the interests of health insurance consumers ahead of the profit interests of insurers is better than one that is made of or easily influenced by people who profit from health insurance sales.

Regardless of whether Nebraska is required to have a marketplace or not, the idea is a good one. It will protect consumers, bring more competition to the insurance market and allow comparison shopping. Since federal law does require a health insurance marketplace, our legislators should make sure it is designed by Nebraskans and benefits Nebraska consumers.

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