In addition to Silver plans, Nebraska offers several other metal tiers with different premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Ambetter offers the cheapest Bronze plan, while Medica offers the cheapest Expanded Bronze, Gold and Catastrophic plans in the state.
MoneyGeek also found the best health insurance in Nebraska by analyzing providers and plans balance cost and service.
Most Affordable Health Insurance in Nebraska
Cheapest Health Insurance in Nebraska by Metal Tier
The CMS Standard Silver plan from Ambetter is the cheapest Silver plan for the average Nebraskan at $567 per month.
The cost of health insurance might vary widely depending on the metal tier chosen. Typically, more expensive plans provide more comprehensive coverage. Here are some of the most affordable health insurance plans in Nebraska, based on the metal tier:
- Catastrophic: Medica with CHI Health Catastrophic ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) ($324 per month)
- Bronze: CMS Standard Bronze ($428 per month)
- Expanded Bronze: Medica with CHI Health Bronze Copay ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) ($435 per month)
- Silver: CMS Standard Silver ($567 per month)
- Gold: Elevate by Medica Gold Share ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) ($596 per month)
The more valuable metal levels, such as Gold and Platinum, have higher monthly premiums but lower out-of-pocket maximums and better benefits than less expensive plans.
Health insurance policies are grouped by metal tiers. As the value of the metal increases, the plan's rates tend to increase, but out-of-pocket payments tend to decrease.
Buyers who are younger and in better health may choose less expensive metal plans, while those who anticipate incurring medical expenses may choose higher tiers. If you have a respectable income, Silver plans let you cut your deductibles.
Resource: Learn more about metal tiers
Cheapest Silver Plans in Nebraska
The CMS Standard Silver plan from Ambetter, with an average monthly premium of $567, is the most affordable Silver plan in Nebraska. The state's three most affordable Silver plans are as follows:
- CMS Standard Silver from Ambetter: $567 per month
- Ambetter Virtual Access Silver-Virtual PCP selection required from Ambetter: $568 per month
- Clear Silver from Ambetter: $571 per month
Silver health insurance policies are popular among Nebraskans due to their adequate coverage and lower deductibles than Bronze plans. Remember that cost-sharing reductions, which could reduce your MOOP cost, deductible and copayment, are exclusive to Silver plans.
The recommendations in the table below are HMO plans because they are the most accessible type in Nebraska.
Cheapest Gold Plans in Nebraska
Medica's Elevate by Medica Gold Share ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) is Nebraska’s least expensive Gold plan at $596 per month. The three cheapest health insurance plans in Nebraska in this category are:
- Elevate by Medica Gold Share ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $596 per month
- Clear Gold from Ambetter: $597 per month
- CMS Standard Gold from Ambetter: $597 per month
Since Gold plan deductibles are typically higher, you will incur fewer out-of-pocket expenses for medical care before your insurance kicks in. But, in contrast to Silver plans, Gold plans do not include cost-sharing reductions.
Cheapest Bronze Plans in Nebraska
In Nebraska, the cheapest Bronze plan is Ambetter's CMS Standard Bronze plan, which costs approximately $428 per month. The following are the most affordable health insurance plans in Nebraska:
- CMS Standard Bronze from Ambetter: $428 per month
- Medica with CHI Health Bronze Standard ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $429 per month
- Nebraska HeartlandBlue Bronze 0% Coinsurance 9100 PSBC from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska: $436 per month
Since Bronze plans have the most affordable monthly premiums but the highest deductibles, you will pay most or all of your basic health expenses out of pocket.
Cheapest Expanded Bronze Plans in Nebraska
Medica's Medica with CHI Health Bronze Copay ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) plan is the most affordable Expanded Bronze plan in Nebraska, costing approximately $435 per month. The three cheapest plans in this category are as follows:
- Medica with CHI Health Bronze Copay ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $435 per month
- Medica with CHI Health Bronze Premier ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $441 per month
- Elevate by Medica Bronze Copay ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $443 per month
Expanded Bronze plans, which fall between Bronze and Silver policies, cover an initial appointment and a major service before the deductible is reached. They also require copayments.
Cheapest Catastrophic Plans in Nebraska
The Medica with CHI Health Catastrophic ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) plan, which costs approximately $259 per month for a 26-year-old buyer, is the most affordable Catastrophic plan available in Nebraska. The three cheapest health insurance plans in Nebraska in this category are:
- Medica with CHI Health Catastrophic ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $259 per month
- Elevate by Medica Catastrophic ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $264 per month
- Medica Insure Catastrophic ($0 Virtual Care with Designated Providers) from Medica: $351 per month
Catastrophic plans are characterized by low annual premiums and extremely high deductibles. They may be a cost-effective approach to safeguard against the worst health risks. However, they don’t cover most routine medical expenses.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Nebraska for Those With Low Income
Cost-sharing reductions are available to Nebraska residents who meet the requirements and whose income is below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). These alleviate the financial burden of medical expenses following treatment.
CMS Standard Silver from Ambetter is the cheapest health insurance in Nebraska for low-income individuals, with the following maximum out-of-pocket cost adjustments:
- Income lower than $20,385 per year: CMS Standard Silver ($1,700 MOOP)
- Income from $28,386 to $27,180 per year: CMS Standard Silver ($3,000 MOOP)
- Income from $27,181 to $47,565 per year: CMS Standard Silver ($7,200 MOOP)
Cost-sharing reductions are only applicable to Silver plans. The income figures may differ based on the size of the household.
Cost-sharing plans don’t affect your rates. Instead, they allow your insurance provider to cover a larger part of your medical bills, lowering your deductible, out-of-pocket maximum and copayment.
Using the CMS Standard Silver plan from Ambetter as an example, the average monthly premium for standard and low-income plans is $567. The difference lies in the out-of-pocket maximum (MOOP): the average MOOP for Nebraska residents with incomes below 150% of the FPL is only $1,700, while the average MOOP for a basic plan is $7,200.
The Cheapest Health Insurance in Nebraska by Plan Type
In Nebraska, the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is the most prevalent plan type, but the exchange also provides other plan options. Alternate plans in the state include Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plans.
The two cheapest EPO health insurance plans in Nebraska are:
- Nebraska HeartlandBlue Silver Standard 5800 PSBC from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska ($571 per month)
- Nebraska HeartlandBlue Silver $0 PCP Visit 5000 PSBC from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska ($571 per month)
HMO plans typically provide cheaper monthly premiums, and you can anticipate reduced out-of-pocket costs. EPO plans are similar to HMOs in that you must remain in the network unless it is an emergency, but you may not always need a referral to see a specialist.
When looking for health insurance plans in Nebraska, you can choose between HMO and EPO plan options.
- HMO plans: HMO plans are generally the most affordable but the least flexible. Policyholders must seek treatment from physicians and hospitals within their network (except in emergencies). Additionally, they require referrals to specialists from your primary care physician.
- EPO plans: EPO plans are ideal for cost-conscious people who want fewer restrictions than an HMO offers. EPOs may be a viable option if your preferred physicians and hospitals are included in the network.
Cheapest Health Insurance in Nebraska by County
Certain plans are not accessible to all Nebraskans. The cheapest option in one county may not be the cheapest option in another county. Compare the monthly cost of the cheapest Silver plan in the largest and smallest counties in Nebraska, Douglas County and McPherson County, respectively:
- Douglas County: CMS Standard Silver ($550 per month)
- McPherson County: CMS Standard Silver ($687 per month)
Use the table below to review the Silver plan options available in your county.
Health Insurance Costs in Nebraska by Age and Metal Tier
Age and metal tier are two more factors that affect the cost of health insurance in Nebraska. Examine how metal tier impacts the average monthly rate for a 40-year-old in Nebraska:
- Catastrophic: $387
- Bronze: $938
- Expanded Bronze: $1,033
- Silver: $1,254
- Gold: $1,369
The cost of health insurance increases as a person ages. In Nebraska, a Silver plan typically costs $896 for younger individuals, $1,254 for middle-aged individuals and $2,663 for seniors.
What to Know About Nebraska Health Insurance
We determined the most affordable health insurance in Nebraska using information from private health insurance plans. During the open enrollment period, prospective buyers can evaluate these plans and choose the one that best meets their insurance requirements and goals.
Checking eligibility for more affordable government-run health insurance programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, is an additional option available to Nebraska residents. Medicaid is provided to those with low incomes, but Medicare is for seniors and those with disabilities.
Private Health Insurance in the Nebraska Marketplace
Every year, the open enrollment period for private insurance plans typically runs from November 1 to January 15. This schedule is given to people seeking insurance coverage via the exchange.
You have greater freedom to change your plan before the end of the term if you enroll early. The enrollment deadline for coverage beginning on January 1 is December 15.
If you miss the open enrollment period, you can obtain private health insurance if you meet the requirements for the special enrollment period. These include loss of job, the birth of a child and marriage. Typically, you have 60 days before or after an event to enroll in or make changes to your health insurance.
What Are Health Insurance Metal Tiers?
Nebraskans can choose from several metal tiers when shopping for a health plan — the more valuable the metal, the better the coverage, but the higher the premiums.
- Catastrophic: These plans are a cost-effective way to ensure that you have health insurance for the worst-case scenarios, such as becoming gravely ill or injured. However, these plans don’t cover regular medical costs due to high deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
- Bronze: Since these plans offer lower premiums and higher deductibles, those in good health and who expect to see a doctor and specialist less frequently will benefit the most from them.
- Expanded Bronze: Expanded Bronze plans offer greater coverage than Bronze plans, resulting in lower out-of-pocket expenses for medical emergencies.
- Silver: Silver plans are the most popular option due to their inexpensive rates and lower MOOPs. By decreasing your cost-sharing, you can reduce your copayment, co-insurance and deductible.
- Gold: Gold plans have higher premiums than the Silver and Bronze plans but lower out-of-pocket costs and cover more frequent treatment.
Medicaid in Nebraska
Medicaid is free in Nebraska, making it the most affordable health insurance option for eligible residents. In Medicaid extension states such as Nebraska, Medicaid eligibility is determined solely by income. In Nebraska, you are eligible for Medicaid if your income is below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Medicare in Nebraska
Nebraska residents aged 65 or older or with certain conditions qualify for Medicare. Medicare is one of the more economical health insurance alternatives for those who qualify, despite not being free like Medicaid.
Medicare's benefits and premiums can vary based on the plan you select and other eligibility requirements. Medicare coverage is typically divided into three parts, each covering a distinct aspect of health care.
- Part A: Includes hospital stays, hospice care in skilled nursing facilities and qualifying home health care. This part of Medicare is not subject to a premium.
- Part B: Requires a monthly premium and often covers outpatient visits, specific physician services, medical supplies and preventive care.
- Part D: Covers your expenses for prescription drugs, including vaccinations and other necessary medications.
Nebraska Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
If you are shopping for health insurance in Nebraska, you’re likely to have questions about cost and availability. MoneyGeek answers some frequently asked questions to help you find the cheapest health insurance in Nebraska.
About Mark Fitzpatrick
- HealthCare.gov. "Health Plan Categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum." Accessed January 13, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Special Enrollment Period." Accessed January 13, 2023.
- HealthCare.gov. "Federal poverty level (FPL)." Accessed January 13, 2023.