Sen. Mike Jacobson introduces bill to expand healthcare for disabled Nebraskans

Senator Mike Jacobson introduces LB32
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 3:58 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 9:37 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - 34 out of 50 states allow disabled individuals under the age of 65 access to private Medigap plans. Nebraska is not one of those states.

On Tuesday, Senator Mike Jacobson introduced LB32 to the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee. The bill aims to allow Medicare recipients under the age of sixty-five, who are disabled or have ESRD (End-Stage Renal disease), to enroll in supplemental Medicare insurance plans within the first six-months of becoming eligible for Medicare.

Currently, individuals in the state of Nebraska filing for social security disability claims are sent through Medicare, but enrolling in supplemental plans such as Medigap are not permitted.

Medigap plans are sold through private companies to fill in coverage gaps from their current Medicare plan.

During testimonies for LB32, a man from southwest Nebraska told the committee he’s on dialysis for kidney failure, and he bought the only supplemental plan available in his area last December. Two months later, he said he has no idea what he will be charged after insurance.

“The disabled and ESRD patients under 65 did not choose to have their disabilities or ESRD,” said Senator Jacobson. “When approved for a social security disability, they are forced to go to Medicare. This is a matter of justice, equity, and fairness.”

Neighboring states such as Kansas, Colorado, and South Dakota have already passed similar legislation and Jacobson says Nebraska needs to do the same.

Proponents say insuring a large number of new Medigap recipients will only raise premiums of those over sixty-five years of age by 0.3%, or the equivalent of one dollar.

Opponents say the opposite, estimating some current policyholders could see their monthly premiums raised by four hundred dollars.