Iowa Insurance Division announces stat will withdraw proposed stopgap measure

Tuesday, 24 Oct, 2017

Iowa withdrew a waiver request to the federal government Monday that was aimed at helping the state's insurance market, the second Republican-governed state to do so.

A plan that officials had hoped would keep health insurance affordable for thousands of Iowans has been withdrawn, clearing the way for premiums to more than double.

When the stopgap proposal was first unveiled in June, no insurers were set to offer plans on Iowa's 2018 exchange, though Minnetonka, Minn. -based Medica will now provide coverage options in each of the state's 99 counties.

Open enrollment for coverage next year under the law begins in nine days, and 72,000 people in Iowa buy their own policies. The stopgap measure was meant to convince the companies to stay within the individual insurance marketplace. We had low premiums.

Medica said in a statement that it is prepared to be the only individual insurance carrier in Iowa.

"Bureaucracy at its finest", Reynolds said at one point, although she also praised the agencies for trying to work with Iowa officials on the request.

"Iowa appreciates President Donald Trump and his administration's commitment to state states can administer healthcare systems that fit their needs", Reynolds said.

Wellmark said in a statement that the stopgap measure was "the most innovative attempt to address the challenges with the individual Affordable Care Act market in the country" and would have made individual insurance more affordable and the state's insurance market more stable.

Oklahoma abruptly withdrew a similar request last month - one that state officials said would have reduced premiums by an average of 30 percent - saying that the Trump administration had been too slow to approve it.

"We're looking at any and every option that we can", Reynolds said.

Last week, the administration informed the state that its plan would likely increase the federal deficit, but that it would take several weeks to figure out by how much.

But the Trump administration missed a deadline to approve the waiver, resulting in higher premiums for 2018, officials said.

"Republicans have done everything possible to undermine ObamaCare and they have failed to provide a workable, bipartisan alternative to help Iowans who need health care security", said Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines).