Iowans left with high premiums after stopgap fails

Iowa's Insurance Commissioner pulls stopgapĀ plan from federal consideration

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Thousands of Iowans will find themselves in a tough position on Jan. 1. 

The state's Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen pulled the stopgap plan from federal consideration Monday. It was first filed over the summer to cover more Iowans and keep premiums lower until congress works out a long-term healthcare solution.

But now, Ommen and Governor Kim Reynolds say the Affordable Care Act is "unworkable" and it didn't allow for the stopgap measure to work.

Genesis insurance navigator Jennifer Busch is helping Iowans prepare for the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1. She said her clients are unsure about what's next. 

"I know there's some anxiety about the future of this. What's going to happen? And the prices are going up," Busch said. "The people who rely on this program do have some anxiety, as they probably should." 

That's because Iowans who don't receive health insurance through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid now only have one carrier option: Medica. 

"The next thing is people are interested in seeing what options are available for them," Busch said. "With Medica, [they want to know] what the cost is going to be. They know the cost is going up." 

Medica premiums are increasing nearly 57 percent. While most Iowans will be protected from those premiums by subsidies, Ommen predicts the 20,000 people not eligible for subsidies will leave the state. He said that will drive up premiums even more. 

He's kicking the problem back to leaders in Washington, D.C.

"I hope that congress does fix this problem. Not just for Iowans but for all Americans. Because at this point only congress can," Ommen said.

Busch said the best thing people can do is go to healthcare.gov. There they can find out what plan they qualify for and if they'll receive any tax credit. They can also call Genesis and make an appointment with Busch at 563-421-3675.

But there are some big questions Busch doesn't even have the answer to. 

"People do come in and say what's going to happen? I just don't have the answer to that."
 


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