The following is a legislative update from Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake:
A new school year is upon us and evenings will soon be filled with fall sports and other school activities. Best of luck to all Iowa students, teachers, and parents for a successful new school year!
Iowa once had a stable and affordable health insurance market where premiums were low and there were several choices for consumers. Iowa also had a functioning high-risk pool for those individuals who could not obtain insurance through private companies. Following the enactment of Obamacare and its mandates, Iowa’s market has collapsed, which has resulted in skyrocketing premiums and a lack of options for consumers.
Earlier this year, Iowa made national headlines when two of the three statewide health insurance carriers announced that they would no longer be participating in the individual insurance marketplace. That has left 72,000 Iowans with just one choice for health insurance, which will also see large premium increases of 43-56% in 2018.
In an effort to stabilize our insurance market, Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen has put together a temporary solution, known as the “Stopgap Measure,” to give Iowans an option for health coverage next year. This plan will require Federal approval from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
It’s critical that the Stopgap Measure receives Federal approval to preserve health insurance access for thousands of Iowans. I recently sent a letter of support to HHS and CMS urging them to act quickly and approve Iowa’s plan because without the Stopgap Measure, Iowans will be left with no options next year.
You can read my letter in its entirety here.
While the Stopgap is not a permanent fix, doing nothing at this time isn’t an option. What this plan will do, is give Congress additional time to move forward with replacing Obamacare with something that makes health insurance more accessible and affordable to Iowa families.
If the Stopgap Measure isn’t approved by the Federal Government, 72,000 Iowans will have limited options for health coverage next year. While some will continue to purchase insurance at higher rates, others will simply go without coverage or could leave the state. A decision on the approval will hopefully be made by the time open enrollment begins on November 1.