Iowa health insurance market is stable, but still broken

Those that liked their health insurance will get to keep it for at least another year as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have approved the extension of transitional policies in Iowa through 2020.

Transitional plans and plans that were grandfathered in following the passage of the Affordable Care Act continue to be utilized by over 82,000 Iowans and while the continued renewal of these plans has been uncontroversial, their sustainability is not guaranteed. By definition, these grandfathered insurance plans are inaccessible to anybody that does not already have them. As time goes on, the pool of people on these plans will naturally decrease, eventually forcing premiums to rise and making them unaffordable for those that remain.

Though it hasn’t happened yet, this will leave few good alternatives for people seeking coverage elsewhere. Those that don’t have employer based coverage may have to turn to the individual marketplace, where premiums can be double of what the grandfathered plans are today, or simply go without insurance at all.

“I think they view that as long as you’re seeing these crazy high prices in the ACA market it seems like a pretty simple decision,” says Iowa Insurance Division (IID) Commissioner Doug Ommen. “I’m confident that if you try putting them into the ACA market, they’re going to leave the individual market entirely.”

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