Nebraskans will have a new option for health insurance next year.

Bright Health, a Minneapolis-based startup health insurer, said it will expand its offerings to the entire state of Nebraska in 2020, along with major cities in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

In Nebraska, the company said it will offer both individual and family health plans along with supplemental insurance plans. It also will offer Medicare Advantage plans in the Omaha market.

Bright Health's rapid growth since its founding four years ago "shows that consumers are hungry for a new health care model that is simple, personal and more affordable," Bright Health CEO Bob Sheehy said in Wednesday's announcement. "Our 2020 expansion proves that we are able to deliver a much-needed product to an underserved population."

Bright Health is providing insurance coverage to about 60,000 people in 2019. That makes it far smaller than the major U.S. health plans, all of which insure millions of people each, but also shows how fast it the company is growing, considering that it insured about 10,000 people just two years ago.

Bright Health's model is to establish a relationship with a major health system in a market and then construct a comprehensive network of services around that provider. Bright Health networks often include specialty doctors or independent health sites to make sure they meet patients' and regulators' expectations for adequate coverage.

The company did not say what health systems it plans to work with in Nebraska.

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This report contains material from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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