The Certified Application Counselors (CACs) and other assisters throughout the state of Nebraska rocked Open Enrollment 5! The concert was executed smoothly with a nice balance of lights to complement the music.

How many consumers enrolled?

This year, 88,213 Nebraskans signed up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Why is this a big deal?  Take a look at the enrollment numbers for previous years and you can see why assisters are rejoicing.


For 2018 coverage:   88,213   5th open enrollment   November 1, 2017 – December 15, 2017

For 2017 coverage:   84,371   4th open enrollment    November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017

For 2016 coverage:   87,835   3rd open enrollment    November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016

For 2015 coverage:   74,152   2nd open enrollment   November 15. 2014 – February 15, 2015

For 2014 coverage:   63,776   1st open enrollment    October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014

Note: CMS started to report state-level plan selection figures after January 9, 2015.


All hands were on deck to help spread the word about open enrollment. I probably annoyed many people by using my personal social media platforms to educate those I know. What was enlightening to me were the stories shared by individuals who were able to find affordable health insurance.

On, there was a tool that allowed consumers to explore the plans offered in their state. While many of the prices listed were high, many consumers were surprised by how affordable a plan was for them once they completed an application and were able to see what tax credits and/or cost sharing reductions they received.

In fact, many consumers were able to receive free health insurance. That’s right – many qualified for free plans based upon their income.

So, as I stated before, the assisters in Nebraska rocked hard. Fans at the concert enjoyed the performance, especially the epic encore.

To everyone that helped ensure a successful concert…..Great work! We did it.





-Keshia Bradford, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Health Center Association of Nebraska




Get Ready for a Performance of a Lifetime!

The crowd is ready…

The performers take the stage…

The curtain goes up…

The performers play and the crowd goes wild!!!







That’s how I think about the outreach and enrollment staff at the health centers. They practice (train) for the Open Enrollment and once it begins, all that practice (training) begins to take hold.

How is Open Enrollment going?

Rockin’! Open enrollment is going very well. Signing up has been going well for many consumers and Certified Application Counselors (CACs) at the health centers. Despite the lack of advertising funding used to promote and reduced number of trained assisters, more consumers are signing up for health insurance plans than expected. Each week, we are seeing enrollment numbers climbing higher. In fact, enrollment numbers this year are higher than in years past based upon the same number of days into Open Enrollment. In Nebraska we have enrolled 32,759 from November 1st to November 25th.

Counselors from the health centers have reported that many consumers have been shocked by how affordable their health insurance has been. For many, qualifying for the tax credits has helped tremendously lower their monthly payments.

There have even been a few consumers remark how nervous they were about how much their insurance was going to be until they were able to see for themselves how affordable their plan was.

Health center CACs are seeing their schedules bustling with appointments and walk-ins. We still have a couple weeks before Open Enrollment ends (December 15th). We are anxiously awaiting the final enrollment numbers.

In other words, the performers are in the middle of their set. The crowd is enthusiastically reacting to the music.

Will there be an encore after the final set? Stay tuned.


-Keshia Bradford, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Health Center Association of Nebraska

NACHC has recently release several new resources that Health Centers and Primary Care Associations can use to make the case for Health Center funding through the “Access is the Answer” campaign. “Access is the Answer:  Community Health Centers, Primary Care, and the Future of American Health Care” highlights how America’s access deficit cannot be solved by insurance alone because 62 million people –  a majority of whom are insured – experience poor access to primary care due to physician shortages in their communities. “Barriers to Primary Care:  The Medically Disenfranchised and Shortage of Primary Care” supplements the “Access is the Answer” policy brief by adding more detail on those who experience a shortage of primary care providers. Finally, newly released primary care shortage maps illustrate by state the severity of the need for access to primary care due to physician shortages. Each of these resources will be extremely useful as Health Center Advocates continue to make the case for adequate levels of Health Center funding in FY 2015 and beyond.

The next NACHC TeleForum will occur on Tuesday, February 11th at 1:00 PM CST (12noon MST).  We invite and encourage all Health Center Advocates to join NACHC for this free call to receive new details on NACHC’s crucial 2014 policy and advocacy campaign.  This is a key call for all Health Center Advocates to join as we enter a year of unprecedented opportunities and challenges.  To sign up to receive the call, click here.  Advocates can also join the TeleForum directly by dialing 1-877-229-8493 and using the pin 15035.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) invites you to join our Google Hangout in Chinese on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm ET.

One in seven Chinese Americans lacks health insurance. With almost half of all Chinese Americans report speaking English less than very well, Chinese Americans are among the highest limited English proficient populations in the nation. To help provide information to limited English proficiency communities, the White House Initiative on AAPIs is hosting a series of online Google+ Hangouts in AAPI languages. The next Hangout will be in Mandarin.

Access to quality, affordable coverage is critically important to AAPI individuals and families, and now, it will be more accessible than ever through the Affordable Care Act and the new Health Insurance Marketplace.

During the Hangout, representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will answer your questions and provide information on how to obtain health care coverage through the new Marketplace. We’ve already hosted a Hangout in Korean and Vietnamese, and we are looking forward to our first Hangout in Mandarin.

The Chinese language Hangout will take place on Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM CST (1:00 – 2:00 PM MST). We hope you will join us by watching live at a local viewing party or online by joining our Google Hangout.  You may also submit your questions during the event via the Google+ ‘Ask a Question’ feature, or in advance via email, or Twitter at @WhiteHouseAAPI. More information on the in-language Hangouts can be found at WHIAAPI’s website, and more information about enrolling can be found at

Date: Thursday, January 23, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (Central)

The event will be live streamed on our Google+ event page.

A new study shows that more than 80 percent of Community Health Center patients rated their quality of care as high.  The study, published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, showed that 84 percent of patients reported excellent/very good overall quality of services, 81 percent reported excellent/very good quality of clinician care, and 84 percent were very likely to refer friends and relatives to the center.

“Clinicians seeking to improve their patients’ overall perceptions of health care experiences should focus on improving patients’ experiences in getting access to care before and during the visit and on promoting clinician and support staff communication skills,” writes Lydie A. Lebrun-Harris, PhD, MPH, from the Office of Research and Evaluation, Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues.

Researchers analyzed the association between patient satisfaction and Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) attributes, including access to care, preventive care, and support for chronic diseases.  This is the first national study to examine how patients viewed PCMH attributes in a safety net setting.

To view a NACHC blog post about the study visit this link.

George Washington University School of Public Health offers this research analysis of the effect of the ACA in states choosing whether or not to expand Medicaid.  The report is available here:  Report from George Washington University School of Public Health

Kaiser Health News comments on the revenue lost to CHCs in states not expanding Medicaid.


The Nebraska Department of Insurance will be hosting a series of educational sessions across the state with regard to the Affordable Care Act.  The Department will be giving an introductory presentation on Health Insurance Exchanges and the role of the state in a federally facilitated marketplace (Exchange).  There will be a question and answer session after the presentation.

The presentation will include:

• The Affordable Care Act and what it means to business and individuals

• What the Health Insurance Marketplace is and where one goes to have questions answered

• A discussion on Open Enrollment

• Small Business Health Options Program also known as SHOP

• A discussion on rates

• Insurance Resources: Insurance agents, Navigators and Certified Application counselors


Dates/Locations of Affordable Care Act Educational Sessions

October 9 – Grand Island

Howard Johnson Riverside
3333 Ramada Road
Grand Island, NE
6:00pm – 9:00pm 

October 10 – Kearney (2 sessions)

Kearney Public Library
2020 1st Ave
Kearney, NE
11:00am – 1:00pm
6:00pm – 9:00pm 

October 16 – S. Sioux City

Marina Inn & Conference Center
385 E 4th St,
South Sioux City, NE
6:00pm – 9:00pm 

October 17 – Omaha

42nd and Emile (Located on the west side of 45th Street)
Omaha, NE
11:00am – 1:00pm 

October 17 – Nebraska City

Lied Lodge
2700 Sylvan Road
Nebraska City, NE
6:00pm – 9:00pm 


Over the next few months, CMS will be gathering personal stories and testimonials about the impact of the Affordable Care Act and enrolling the uninsured in health insurance.  We encourage you to submit stories from the people you serve.  Stories and testimonials can be submitted to   Please include “Health Insurance Testimonial” in the email subject line, as well as contact information if the story is personalized.   Many stories may be made generic.

Steps have been initiated to prevent and respond to individuals attempting to take advantage of the public during health care implementation.  These measures include:

  • Reporting fraud mechanism: A new feature of the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596, TTY 1-855-889-4325) will now enable individuals to report fraud simply by calling the 1800 number. Call Center operators have been trained to take a fraud complaint, and refer them to FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network.
  • Creating new pathways: offers easy access to connect consumers to FTC’s Complaint Assistant.
  • Establishing a routing system for complaints through a centralized database: Routing complaints through FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network will ensure federal, state and local law enforcement have access to consumer complaints and can analyze and refer those complaints as appropriate.
  • Protecting personal data: Building on the certification of the Health Insurance Marketplace’s data hub on Sept. 6, 2013 as in compliance with the stringent security, privacy and data flow standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology – the gold standard for information and independent security controls assessment – the interagency officials have also established a rapid response mechanism that will be employed in the unlikely event of a data security breach.
  • Empowering consumers with information: Building on a proactive effort to inform consumers about potential fraud and privacy threats, the federal government is releasing new educational materials to empower consumers and assisters who are helping consumers navigate the Marketplaces.  They include online tip sheets like Protect Yourself from Fraud in the Health Insurance Marketplace and Tips for Assisters to Help Consumers Navigate the Marketplace. The materials remind consumers that there is assistance, at no cost to them, available to navigate the Marketplace and that they should be suspicious of persons who ask for a fee before providing assistance.  The tip sheets are included under Fraud Protection Fact Sheets on the Outreach & Enrollment webpage of the HCAN website.