Dept. of Insurance to Hold Public Forums on Federal Health Care Law

(Lincoln, Neb.) Nebraska Department of Insurance Director Bruce Ramge today announced Lincoln and Omaha’s upcoming forums for the public and stakeholders to discuss the state’s available options for health insurance exchanges. The Department of Insurance has already held three successful forums in Gering, Kearney and Norfolk. The meetings will focus on the required planning and development of health insurance exchanges which are part of the federal health care law.  

“The Department of Insurance is committed to an open and transparent process as we decide on our exchange participation options,” said Insurance Director Ramge. “I hope the public and stakeholders will join me and Deputy Director Christy Neighbors for these important meetings in Lincoln and Omaha.”

MEDIA AVAILABILITIES: Director Ramge will hold media availability at 5:30 p.m. local time, prior to each meeting.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
University of Nebraska ‐ Lincoln
UNL Student Union Ballroom (2nd floor)
1400 R St, Lincoln, NE

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
University of Nebraska – Omaha
Milo Bail Student Center ‐ Auditorium
6203 Dodge St, Omaha, NE

The meetings will offer a presentation describing the exchange and available options for structuring an exchange. There will also be testimony from those in attendance regarding these issues. 

A health insurance exchange is a set of state‐regulated and standardized health care plans, from which individuals may purchase health insurance that is eligible for federal subsidies. Nebraska is currently considering whether to operate an exchange on its own, as part of a group of states, or allowing the federal government to operate the exchange.  

According to the federal timeline, each state will have some type of an exchange. The Secretary of the Federal Health and Human Services must certify, by January 1, 2013, a state’s plan to operate a qualified exchange. If a state does not operate an exchange, the federal government will operate it. Each state must have the exchange operational by January 1, 2014. This includes both individual market and small group market exchanges. The exchange must be self‐sustaining by 2015.

"We're definitely looking for input from Nebraskans on what they want to see the insurance exchange be able to do for them," said Director Ramge.

An agenda for the Lincoln and Omaha forums is available on the Department of Insurance website located at

Editor’s Note: Please call to schedule one‐on‐one interviews prior to the forums.