Iowa health insurance exchange
Marketplace enrollment off to slow start for Iowans
By Carla Anderson
November 26, 2013
Nearly 11,000 Iowa residents applied for health insurance in the first month of open enrollment through the health insurance marketplace, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). About 6,100 of the applicants are eligible to purchase insurance through the marketplace, but just over 700 people have selected a health plan. An additional 4,500 are qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Iowa’s health insurance marketplace is a partnership with the federal government. Iowa residents use the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, to compare and purchase coverage. The state is responsible for plan management, consumer assistance, and Medicaid eligibility determination. Iowa’s plan management functions include selecting and monitoring the qualified health plans (QHP) that offer policies on the exchange. Iowa’s role in consumer assistance is education and outreach, coordinating the in-person consumer assisters, and overseeing the Navigator program. The federal government manages the exchange website and call center and funds the Navigator program.
By 2014, Iowa plans to transition to a state-run model.
Four insurers are selling individual and family coverage through the Iowa marketplace: Avera Health Plans, CoOportunity Health, Coventry, and Gunderson Health Plan. CoOportunity is a new consumer operated and oriented plan, formed with funding through the Affordable Care Act. Coventry and CoOportunity Health are selling policies state-wide, while Avera and Gunderson will sell policies in select regions.
Two insurers, Sanford Health and Health Alliance Midwest, are selling policies through the small-business, or SHOP, marketplace.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average cost for a bronze plan — the lowest-cost option — in Iowa is $212 a month. The national average for a bronze policy is $249 a month.
According to HHS, about 225,000 Iowans (10 percent of the population) are uninsured and eligible to use the marketplace. The current open enrollment runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. With an extension announced in late November, consumers now have until Dec. 23 to purchase a policy and have coverage begin Jan. 1, 2014.
Iowa health insurance exchange links
State Exchange Profile: Iowa
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Iowa’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Consumer Advocate Bureau
Provides consumers with assistance in navigating the health care system, assistance programs, and other issues related to health insurance benefits.
1-877-955-1212 / email@example.com