Affordable Iowa health insurance

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Iowa health insurance exchange

iowa guide to health insurance

Iowa health insurance exchange

July 24, 2014

Obamacare enrollment in Iowa has ended for 2014. However, people who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period.

Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage through the marketplace begins Nov. 15.

Signups for qualified health plans (QHPs) in Iowa more than doubled during the final weeks of 2014 open enrollment. In total, 29,163 people enrolled in QHPs during 2014 open enrollment, and an additional 36,891 people qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP.

Among Iowa residents selecting a QHP, 84 percent qualified for financial assistance, compared to 85 percent nationally. A report released in June by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed the average monthly premium, after subsidies, for Iowa consumers was $108. Among states using the federal marketplace, the average post-subsidy premium was $82.

Twenty-six percent of Iowa residents selected a bronze plan (20 percent nationally), 57 percent selected a silver plan (65 percent nationally), 12 percent selected a gold plan (9 percent nationally), 4 percent selected a platinum plan (5 percent nationally) and 2 percent selected a catastrophic plan (2 percent nationally). Twenty-six percent of Iowa enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Iowa operates a partnership exchange with the federal government. Iowa residents use the federal marketplace,, 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.

Four insurers sold individual and family coverage for 2014 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.

Both CoOportunity and Coventry requested rate increases for 2015: CoOportunity is requesting an average increase of 14.3 percent, and Coventry is requesting an average increase of 8.7. Wellmark, the largest insurance carrier in Iowa, announced it will not join the marketplace in 2015.

In December 2013, Iowa received a waiver for its alternative to the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Under a program called the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, some very low-income residents would be enrolled in a state-run health plan and, in some cases, be required to pay modest premiums. Other residents with slightly higher incomes would purchase insurance through the marketplace, with premiums paid by the federal government.

Iowa health insurance exchange links

Iowa Insurance Division: State Partnership Exchange Plan Management

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 /

IA health insurance exchange news

State-by-state open enrollment extension details

Curious to see how your state is handling the open enrollment deadline?  Most states…

CoOportunity Health is marketplace success story

Quad-City Times — CoOportunity Health is one of 23 consumer operated and oriented plans…

Iowa governor considers multi-state marketplace

Gov. Terry Branstad wants to explore the option of creating a health insurance exchange…

Iowa sees 10-fold increase in health insurance signups in December

World-Herald News Service —  Many more Iowans used to buy health…

Thousands of Iowa residents must re-apply for insurance, may not be covered Jan. 1

WQAD — The Iowa Department of Human Services told 16,000 people who had previously…

Iowa receives $1 million to implement its own health insurance marketplace

Quad-City Times — Iowa received a $1 million grant to implement a state-run health…

Iowa health insurers offer measured view of marketplace

Des Moines Register — Representatives from Iowa’s insurance industry are not…

Iowa insurance commissioner: Wait a few weeks to use marketplace

Des Moines Register —Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart suggested consumers avoid…

Branstad less than enthusiastic in announcing partnership exchange

Sioux City Journal — Gov. Terry Branstad notified the federal government that Iowa will…

Wellmark chairman unsure about health exchange

Houston Chronicle – A major insurance carrier in Iowa says it’s not sure it would…

Voice your concerns to your
Iowa elected officials

tell your elected officials

Let your Iowa governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
PHONE: 515-281-5211
Contact by e-mail
Contact your Iowa State Senator and State Representative