EHA Rates Set for ‘21-22

There will be an increase of 2.96 percent in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) health care premiums for the 2021-22 school year, following action by the Educators Health Alliance (EHA) in mid-October.

The Blue Cross plan, used by nearly all Nebraska school districts, covers more than 80,000 lives.

Medical insurance rates for active employees will increase 3.06 percent and 4.5 percent for retirees. For the first time, rather than a one-time annual fee, special services fees will be included in premium rates for retirees. No dental rates will change, pulling the overall increase below 3 percent.

When the 2021-2022 plan year begins next Sept. 1, it will mark the 19th consecutive rate increase of less than 10 percent.  The average annual increase over the past 10 years has been 4.1 percent.  

“The COVID pandemic has resulted in significant disruption for our members,” said NSEA Associate Executive Director and Comptroller Sheri Jablonski, who chairs the EHA Board of Directors. “It has also made it difficult to set rates for the 2021-22 plan year.

Nevertheless, we are pleased we’ve been able to maintain our streak of nearly 20 years without a double digit increase in rates and, especially, to average just over 4 percent for the last decade.”

The only benefit change is an enhancement for non-HSA PPO plans. Member cost sharing for visits to counselors and psychiatrists will be eliminated as of Sept. 1, 2021.  

“We believe it is important, particularly in these stressful times, to encourage our members to seek counseling if they feel anxious or overwhelmed. We did not want the benefit plan to discourage office visits by having the deductible applied first,” said NSEA Executive Director Maddie Fennell.  “We also encourage all school districts and EHA members to continue to follow CDC guidelines related to COVID in order to continue to mitigate claims and keep future increases low.”

Jablonski said the low increase in rates is possible due to:

  • The effect of the EHA’s statewide wellness and health promotion program;
  • A program designed to assist in the management of chronic diseases and emerging diseases;
  • Holding the line on health and administrative cost increases; and
  • Continued prudent management in the design and choices of benefit plans.

The EHA is a non-profit corporation created to procure quality, affordable health care insurance for Nebraska education employees. The rates set by the EHA are for the BCBSNE plan used by more than 400 public school districts and affiliates. The plan is governed by a 12-member board representing the Nebraska Association of School Boards, the Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the NSEA. Visit www.ehaplan.org for more information.