Health benefit plans for agricultural nonprofits advanced

Lawmakers gave first-round approval March 4 to a bill intended to provide affordable health benefits to Nebraska farmers and ranchers.

Sen. Robert Dover
Sen. Robert Dover

Under LB1313, sponsored by Norfolk Sen. Robert Dover, health benefit plans that are sponsored by certain nonprofit agricultural organizations and provide benefits under a self-funded arrangement administered by a licensed third-party administrator would not be subject to insurance regulation.

Dover said the proposed plans, which would be similar to those offered by several faith-based organizations, would provide members with coverage for office visits, hospitalization, preventive care and other services.

An organization that sponsors a plan must have been created primarily to promote programs for the development of rural communities and the economic stability of Nebraska farmers, among several other requirements.

Before providing health benefits, an organization would be required to file a certification with the state Department of Insurance verifying that the organization meets the bill’s requirements.

The risk assumed by a plan could be reinsured by a company authorized to do business in Nebraska.

The bill advanced to select file on a vote of 33-0.

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