Esser joins BCBSNE as VP Medical Policy and Quality Medical Director

Debra L. Esser, MD, will join Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) on January 19 as vice president, medical policy and quality medical director. 

“Dr. Esser’s wealth of experience will complement our drive to positively impact the lives of our members across the state through programs and services focused on improving quality care," said Joann Schaefer, MD, BCBSNE’s chief medical officer. 

Dr. Esser will serve on the BCBSNE leadership team with responsibility for medical policy and medical review and strategic oversight of quality management programs. 

She previously served as chief medical officer for Aetna Better Health of Nebraska.  Prior to that, Dr. Esser held leadership positions at Coventry Health Care Nebraska/Iowa, Omaha’s Physicians Clinic, Methodist Hospital and UnitedHealthcare Nebraska/Iowa.

She currently serves as president of the Metro Omaha Medical Society and is a member of Live Well Omaha and Hope Medical boards as well as Senator Gloor’s Patient Centered Medical Home Steering Committee.

She completed medical school at the University of Nebraska Omaha/Lincoln and her family practice residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  She earned a master’s in medical management from Tulane University.



The percentage of the bill you pay after your deductible has been met.


A fixed amount you pay when you get a covered health service.

Tiered benefit plan

A health care plan featuring multiple levels of benefits based on the network status of a particular provider. 


The annual amount you pay for covered health services before your insurance begins to pay.

emergency care services

Any covered services received in a hospital emergency room setting.


Includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy

in-network provider

A provider contracted by your insurance company to accept an agreed upon payment for covered services. 

OUT-OF-network provider

A term for providers that aren’t contracting with your insurance company. (Your out-of-pocket costs will tend to be more expensive if you go to an out-of-network provider.)


Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.


If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.


The amount you pay to your health insurance company each month. 

Preventive services

Health care services that focus on the prevention of disease and health maintenance.


Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured or have surgery. This includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.

special enrollment period

The time after the Open Enrollment Period when you can still purchase health insurance only if you have a qualifying life event (losing other health coverage, having a baby, getting married, moving).


A physician who has a majority of his or her practice in fields other than internal or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or family practice.