- Associated Press - Friday, June 16, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - At least one health insurer plans to sell individual policies in Nebraska next year that meet Affordable Care Act standards.

Medica Health announced Thursday that it expects to file a rate request next week for statewide insurance for 2018 with the Nebraska Department of Insurance. Thursday was the original deadline to submit proposed rates, but the department decided to grant an extension.

“We have said all along that we are committed to the marketplaces where we currently provide coverage, and will continue to serve those communities whenever possible,” Medica Health Vice President Geoff Bartsch said.

The decision affects nearly 100,000 people who had individual policies in Nebraska this year. Medica currently insures about 36,000 people in the state. Bartsch said the company has to consider whether it can realistically absorb that many potential new customers.

“Each state is asking questions about their own state, and they should, but we’ve got to look at the bigger picture and what is realistic for an insurance plan our size,” he said. “It’s a marketplace that hasn’t been wildly successful, and this would be dramatic growth.”

The insurance company would likely be the only one offering individual policies in Nebraska that are compliant with the federal health care law’s rules requiring maternity, routine checkups, hospital stays and a variety of other coverages.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and Aetna Health announced two weeks ago they would drop their Affordable Care Act-compliant plans for 2018.

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