EHA News

EHA News

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and CHI Come to an Agreement

EHA Inflation Again Below National Average!

EHA Inflation Again Below National Average!

A recent national survey of 65 insurers conducted by Wells Fargo reveals rising health care claim trends in 2015 and 2016. This survey concludes an average trend of 7.9% in 2015 and a projected trend of 8.7% for 2016, for plans similar to the EHA (PPO plans).  The EHA trends in recent years and projected through 2016 have been at or below 5.0%.  

The national increase in health care claim trend will result in a surge in premiums for 2015 and 2016, Wells Fargo has concluded from the survey. In contrast to this, the EHA will have a low 1.9% premium increase for all EHA benefit plans for the 2015-16 Plan Year.  

The continued favorable experience of the EHA plan is why EHA is able to have such a low premium increase and again this year have premium rate stability for its members. 

To read the Wells Fargo Survey please click on the link below.

Educators Health Alliance Bookkeepers Meetings

Educators Health Alliance 2015/16 Bookkeepers Meetings 

Over the next two weeks the EHA and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska will be traveling the State presenting on a verity of topics including Electronic Enrollment and BluesEnroll, Subgroup Applications, Renewal Timeline, Administrative Updates, and Direct Bill.  Please click on the below links to view the information.  

EHA Announces Decision Regarding (Optional) Open Enrollment

Please click on the below links to review the (Optional) Open Enrollment details. 

* Opt form must be received by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska by July 1st, 2015

MCH&HS, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska Sign Agreement

Please click on the below link to view the agreement between MCH&HS and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska involving Blair, Fort Calhoun and Tekamah clinics.  

MCH&HS and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska Agreement.

** NEW Update: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska negociations with Catholic Health Initiatives

November 11, 2014

BCBSNE to Extend In-Network Benefits for Members at Five CHI Health Hospitals Kearney, Grand Island, Nebraska City, Schuyler and Plainview Facilities Impacted

Effective January 1, 2015, BCBSNE members will pay in-network out-of-pocket amounts at CHI Health hospitals in five Nebraska communities, despite CHI's termination from BCBSNE's statewide provider network.

Members will receive their in-network level of benefits at these five facilities:  Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, St. Mary's Community Hospital in Nebraska City, CHI Health Schuyler and CHI Health Plainview.

That means members will pay in-network deductible, copay and coinsurance amounts at those facilities, and BCBSNE will pay the same amount for covered medical services at those facilities as it did prior to the September 1 network termination.  "We hope this eases the transition for our members, and provides them with options for care within their communities," said BCBSNE senior vice president Lee Handke.

BCBSNE made the move to help Nebraska members who would have to pay higher out-of-network costs if they had used the five CHI facilities -- which are the only full-service hospitals in those towns.

CHI Health was removed from the BCBSNE network in September because its costs are 10% to 30% higher for physician and hospital services in Omaha.  CHI Health had included all its facilities across Nebraska under one contract, which locked out members outside of Omaha from getting care at in-network rates.   BCBSNE proposed multiple times signing a separate agreement with CHI hospitals outside of Omaha, but CHI refused.

"We were hopeful of reaching an agreement with Denver-based CHI long before now -- especially in our efforts to take members in these five communities out of the middle of an Omaha problem," Handke said. "We made the decision to fix the problem on behalf of our members in those communities."

Because the five facilities are still out of network, BCBSNE will send payment for medical services directly to the member, who will be responsible for paying the provider.  CHI Health can still bill members for the difference between what BCBSNE pays and what the provider charges -- although CHI officials have stated publicly they will not bill members for the difference.

Members in the communities impacted by this upcoming change are receiving a letter from us later this week.  If you have any questions, please contact a member of your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska account team.


Pat Bourne

Senior Vice President, Sales and Account Services

School Groups Applaud Low 1.9% Rate Increase for Educators Health Alliance Insurance Premiums

Lincoln, NE, October 28, 2014 – Three statewide education groups said premium rates for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) health care plan used by nearly every Nebraska school district will increase by only 1.9 percent next school year, a rate that is significantly below national cost increases and well below Nebraska’s historic yearly rate growth. 

The Nebraska Association of School Boards, Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the Nebraska State Education Association jointly govern the Educators Health Alliance (EHA) plan.

The 1.9 percent increase is for all benefit options and is effective Sept. 1, 2015. The Board of Directors of the Educators Health Alliance approved the renewal rates and benefits last Friday.

When the 2015-16 plan year takes effect on Sept. 1, 2015, it will mark the 13th consecutive year the rate increases have been less than 10 percent.  The rate increases in 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 were 0.0 percent, 2.99 percent, 6.4 percent and 2.3 percent respectively. The EHA has kept the increases well below national trends.

“Several factors contributed to the EHA’s ability to achieve a rate increase below medical inflation,” said Neal Clayburn, EHA board chair. “The wise use of medical services and maintenance of healthy practices by our members has resulted in favorable claim experience. Additional factors include the work of BCBSNE, the ongoing dependent eligibility verification, the EHA wellness program and the collaboration of the three associations that govern the plan.”

Beth Kernes Krause, EHA Vice Chair and Auburn Public Schools Board of Education member, said premium rates will increase by 1.9 percent for all rate and benefit categories. “This includes all medical and dental plans as well as active employee and early retiree categories. There will be no changes made to the EHA available plan deductibles, coinsurance, or copays for the 2015-16 plan year.”

“The EHA continues to work diligently to achieve rate stability and increases below health insurance industry averages,” said Jack Moles, EHA Secretary and Superintendent of Johnson County Schools. “In addition to good management of the plan, utilization substantially affects rates. Our members are making smart health care choices and that is reflected in continued favorable experience with regard to utilization.”

The EHA plan’s insurance coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska includes more than 70,000 education employees, early retirees and their dependents in more than 400 school groups. The statewide health care network was formed 45 years ago. A 12-member board representing NSEA, the Nebraska Association of School Boards and the Nebraska Council of School Administrators now governs the health care plan.

EHA Executives speak out on controlling health care costs

EHA Executives speak out on controlling health care costs

Please click on the below link to read the Op-Ed article in the Lincoln Journal Star:

* Holding the line on health care costs