Nebraska Blues to Exit Individual Exchange in 2017

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) says it has decided to exit the state’s federally facilitated public exchange individual market in 2017, according to a statement on the insurer’s website.

The decision does not affect Medicare Supplement or group plans, the insurer said, and BCBSNE will continue to sell bronze and catastrophic policies outside of the exchange.

The Nebraska Dept. of Insurance had approved an average 35% rate increase for the insurer’s exchange products. Just two carriers, Aetna Inc. and Medica, are expected to sell exchange-based coverage in the state.

According to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans, BCBSNE enrolled 38,000 people in public exchange plans in 2016.

BCBSNE attributed the decision to “increased costs and decreased competition and consumer choice,” stating that since it began participation in the marketplace, it has lost approximately $140 million. It will reevaluate a 2018 return to the individual marketplace based on “its improved stability.”

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