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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Signs Legislation Expanding Healthcare Options

Media Contacts:  

Eric Maher, 402-471-1974

Luke Robson, 402-471-1967




(Left to Right) Dr. Cliff Robertson, State Senator Merv Riepe, Governor Pete Ricketts, Dr. Todd Johnson, Dr. Joel Bessmer, and Dr. Steve Lazoritz


Video available here.


OMAHA – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 1119, which creates a Direct Primary Care pilot program to be offered to teammates working for the State of Nebraska.  LB 1119 was introduced by State Senator Merv Riepe of Ralston and prioritized by Senator Mike Hilgers of Lincoln.


“Thank you to Senator Riepe for championing the Direct Primary Care Pilot Program Act and to Senator Hilgers for prioritizing the bill this legislative session,” said Governor Ricketts.  “LB 1119 helps expand healthcare options for our teammates at the State of Nebraska.  Two years ago I signed the Direct Primary Care Agreement Act into law to help give Nebraskans more choice in healthcare.  The Direct Primary Care Pilot Program Act is another step towards helping more Nebraskans have access to the healthcare options that are best suited for their needs.”


Under the Direct Primary Care Pilot Program Act, the program begins in fiscal year 2019-2020 and runs through fiscal year 2021-2022.  The bill requires the State Health Insurance Program to include two direct primary care coverage options for participating state teammates. 


“I want to thank Governor Ricketts for creating an environment that encourages innovation and a free market,” said State Senator Merv Riepe.  “I’m really excited for this opportunity for state employees.  This will afford them an opportunity to have quality, affordable, accessible healthcare.”


"I was pleased to make LB 1119 my priority bill this year,” said State Senator Mike Hilgers.  “We need innovative healthcare policy, and LB 1119 is an important step forward in the effort to help lower the cost of care while increasing access and quality.  I thank Senator Riepe for his leadership in introducing the bill, my colleagues for supporting LB 1119, and Governor Ricketts for signing it into law."


“I can’t thank Senators Hilgers and Riepe enough for their forward thinking in passing this bill,” said Dr. Joel Bessmer.  “This allows a better relationship between patients and doctors, leading to better healthcare outcomes.”


Additionally, language from LB 604, the Nebraska Right to Shop Act, was included in the final version of LB 1119.  The Nebraska Right to Shop Act allows for health plans that incentivize enrollees to “shop around” for the best price for health care services.  Insurance company and state health plan participation are optional.  Participating insurers offering a shared service incentive plan would pay at least 50 percent of the cost savings to the insured.  Shopping for a lower total price creates a cost savings for both the insurer and insured.


LB 1119 builds on the Direct Primary Care Agreement Act (2016), which expanded access to healthcare in our state and makes it easier for Nebraskans to establish a relationship with primary care doctors.  More information about the previous initiative can be found by clicking here.


The Direct Primary Care pilot program and the Nebraska Right to Shop Act offer taxpayers more options to take control over their healthcare.  These changes promise to drive down costs and increase savings for both consumers and insurance providers.