Nebraska Hospitals Ready for Healthcare Changes - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Nebraska Hospitals Ready for Healthcare Changes

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The Affordable Care Act went to effect March of 2010 and hospitals saw reductions in providing Medicare services. Now they are looking to expand coverage through the exchanges.

"We continue to work with the state legislature to try to expand Medicaid Eligibility so that we have more people covered to offset the reductions in reimbursements were imposed on hospitals when healthcare reform was passed," said Bruce Rieker, Vice President of advocacy for the Nebraska Hospital Association.

Rieker hopes more people enroll in health insurance.

"A lot of folks refer to as the wildcard, we have to see how human behavior reacts to health care reform and the opportunity to purchase insurance through the exchange," said Rieker.

Once the problems on HealthCare.gov get straightened out people will be able to see what kind of policies they qualify for.

Rieker believes hospitals are ready for an increase of people.

"It's not like a lot new people are moving to the state were already providing care to a lot of these individuals, just more of them should be insured through the exchange if they opt to take that option," he said.

If residents fail to enroll for coverage through the plan or with a private insurance provider by the deadline they will be subject to a penalty. Rieker said he realizes people may choose to pay the penalty, which would be less expensive than paying for insurance, if they cannot afford, or do not want to pay for, the coverage.

This could be an issue for hospitals if they provide care for those who don't have coverage.

"If for some reason we don't have the participation we hoped then there may have to be some changes in services but that's something our hospitals are prepared to do and then we will make business decisions accordingly," said Rieker.

With more people enrolled in health insurance Rieker said he believes the quality of healthcare across the state will stay the same.

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