EHA News

EHA News

EHA Insurance Rate Informational Webinar

Dear EHA Members,

On October 29th the Educators Health Alliance released the new health/dental insurance rates for 2016-2017.  In conjunction with the new rates the Educators Health Alliance and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska would like to invite our members to one of the two informational webinars on November 23rd at 9:30AM or November 30th at 3:30. 

Kent Trelford-Thompson, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and Greg Long, of the EHA will be discussing a range of issues that will include the 2016/17 rate increase, deductibles of all plans, out-of-pocket maximums, and prescription drug changes.  We will also be holding a question and answer forum at the conclusion of the webinars.

Please click on the link below to join the webinar:

We look forward to your participation in the 2016/17 EHA Informational Webinar. 

Health Insurance Premium Increase for Nebraska Schools Bucks National Trend

September 1, 2015 -- Increases of from 12 to 31 percent for individual health insurance policies in Nebraska are slated for 2016, according to a Sept. 1, 2015, Omaha World-Herald report.

Meanwhile, rates for the Educators Health Alliance health care plan used by nearly every Nebraska school district increased by only 1.9 percent, effective today.  

“This marks the 13th consecutive year our rate increases have been less than 10 percent,” said Neal Clayburn, chair of the EHA board of directors.  “That we have kept the increases well below national cost trends points to the efficacy of our collaborative approach to providing health care coverage for more than 400 school groups.”

The EHA plan’s 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. 

Clayburn said several factors contribute to the EHA’s ability to continually achieve rate increases that fall well below the national rate of medical inflation. He said “the wise use of medical services and maintenance of healthy practices by plan members; EHA’s extensive wellness program; and the collaboration of the three associations that govern the plan: the Nebraska School Boards Association, Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the Nebraska State Education Association,” combine to keep rates at a minimum.

EHA premiums increased by 1.9 percent for all rate and benefit categories beginning Sep. 1, 2015. This includes all medical and dental plans, as well as active employee and early retiree categories. There are no changes made to the EHA available plan deductibles, coinsurance, or copays for the 2015-16 plan year.

The EHA plan’s insurance coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska includes more than 77,000 education employees, early retirees and their dependents. NSEA formed the statewide health care network 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. 

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