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Medicare Basics and Early Retiree Plan

BCBS of Nebraska

EHA Direct Bill Plan
(for Early Retirees)


Omaha Social Security Office

Senior Health Insurance Information Program

Volunteers Assisting Seniors


Maintaining health insurance coverage is an important part of providing economic security during retirement. Below is additional information about health insurance options available to employees before becoming Medicare eligible.

Early Retiree Health Insurance Options

When employees take early retirement (prior to age 65), there are two options available to ensure continuous health insurance coverage until you turn age 65 and enroll in Medicare.

Option 1: COBRA Continuation Coverage

You may continue your Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) health and dental coverage for up to 18 months when you retire and your coverage under MCC ends:

  • You pay 100% of the monthly COBRA premium, plus a 2% administrative fee.
  • You may not switch from COBRA to the EHA Direct Bill Plan for early retirees at a later date.
  • COBRA is administered by PayFlex.

Option 2: Educators Health Alliance (EHA) Direct Bill Plan Retirees (ages 50-64)

To be eligible for this option, retirees must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be between the ages of 50-64 at time you retire and your coverage under MCC ends, and
  • You must have had a minimum of 60 months of continuous health coverage under the EHA BCBS health plan.

Additional Requirements:

  • Retiree (and spouse if also enrolling) must become dues-paying member of the Nebraska State Education Association (NESA).
  • You must enroll in health and dental coverage.
  • Retirees may not elect COBRA then switch to the Direct Bill Plan at a later date.

Direct Bill Plan Information:

  • Click here to view a recorded webinar containing detailed information about the Direct Bill Plan for Early Retirees.
  • EHA offers four health plan options and one dental option.
  • You may remain covered until age 65 and become eligible to enroll in Medicare.
  • Calendar year deductible and coinsurance accumulations from active BCBS coverage transfer to the EHA Direct Bill Plan.
  • Members can move out of state and keep their Direct Bill Plan.
  • Once you turn age 65 and become eligible for Medicare, you're given the opportunity to convert to an EHA Medicare supplemental plan.


When employees take retirement at age 65 and over, retirees must apply for Medicare Part A and Medicare part B by contacting the Social Security Administration. Retirees may also purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan and Medicare Part D plan (for prescription drugs) offered through BCBS or an insurance company of your choice.

Volunteers Assisting Seniors

Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS) is a nonprofit organization that utilizes the skills, knowledge, and education of retired seniors to simplify the lives of other Nebraskans by helping them better understand their benefits and entitlement, and make informed decisions. Private counseling sessions may be scheduled with a VAS volunteer regarding Medicare and Medicare supplement policies, Medicare Part D, long-term care insurance, and more. All counseling sessions are free, unbiased and confidential.

HR Contact: Julie Nohrenberg 531-622-2232