Medica Health Plans has opened an office in Nebraska because its health insurance clientele has increased five-fold in the state, mostly because of plans sold through the federal Affordable Care Act’s online exchange.
The regional office is at Suite 304 of 331 Village Pointe Plaza in Omaha, an office building west of the Village Pointe shopping mall. The office is open for walk-in traffic and appointments from people who want to talk about health plans, as well as visits by insurance brokers and others.
Craig Ashby, senior director of individual and family plans, said the Omaha office will serve the significant number of members Medica now has in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, more than 80 percent from ACA exchange plans.
In Nebraska, 35,553 people have made their initial payments on Medica health plans for 2017, up from 6,276 in 2016. Iowa membership went from 1,430 last year to 13,129 this year, and so far 7,426 Kansans have signed up for coverage, the first year Medica is offering plans there.
Aetna Health also offers plans on the exchange. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and UnitedHealthCare offer off-exchange coverage but dropped their exchange plans for 2017 because of what they said were heavy losses.
Ashby said via email that plans for the Omaha office went ahead despite discussions in Washington about repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“We are moving forward under the assumption that any changes in the ACA will not have a material impact on our business,” he said.
The company plans to continue selling health insurance outside the ACA exchange at HealthCare.gov no matter what happens, he said.
Medica Chief Executive John Naylor and others will attend a ribbon-cutting at the new office from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday.
Based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb, Medica also sells health insurance in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Medica is a nonprofit company with about 1.7 million members and 1,250 employees. Besides individual health plans, it offers employer-based, Medicaid, Medicare and Medicare Part D insurance.
In 2015, Medica spent 88 percent of its $5.1 billion in premium revenue on health care expenses, with the rest covering administration and other nonmedical costs.