Thursday, September 12, 2013

Health Care Exchange Participating Insurers Confirm Their Commitment

All companies that submitted qualified health plan applications signed contracts with HHS, and Iowa health insurance costs will continue to compare favorably to most other state marketplaces.

September 12, 2013, DES MOINES, IOWA – Each of the insurers who filed Qualified Health Plan applications for review by the Iowa Insurance Division in June have now signed their contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services to offer their health plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) federal marketplace for Iowa.

This means that Iowans will be able to go to the federal health insurance marketplace web site beginning October 1 and see the choices available to them in their locale and the prices for each choice, determine the amount of subsidy or tax credit for which they may qualify, calculate a net cost of coverage, and decide if a selection of a health care plan on the exchange fits their circumstances.  Coverage under the plan selected can begin as soon as January 1, 2014. The Open Enrollment period for the marketplace will continue through March 31, 2014.

Conventional health insurance sold outside of the federal marketplace for Iowa will continue to be available for comparison and purchase, but anyone eligible for tax credits or subsidies will only be able to receive that federal premium assistance by making purchases of qualified health plans offered within the federal marketplace for Iowa.

“We expected that the carriers that signaled to us in June their plan to participate in the marketplace would actually do so this fall,” said Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart.  “Still, it’s nice to have the deal sealed and to have firm knowledge that Iowans will have these choices, starting next month.  Iowa has traditionally enjoyed having both a much lower- than- average percentage of its population uninsured and an average cost for health insurance that has been among the lowest in the country.”

“It looks like that relative cost ranking will continue, and with the federal marketplace and its subsidies the number of uninsured Iowans may decrease,” continued Gerhart.”We have had a chance to see the rates published for other states on national reports.  It’s clear that for comparisons of similar plans, Iowa’s rates will continue to compare very favorably. “

A recent national publication comparing seventeen states who have published rates so far uses the second lowest “Silver” plan, which meets  a medium set of standards to be met for coverage offered in the marketplace, as a comparative standard. While prices vary across Iowa’s seven geographic pricing regions, central Iowa’s second-lowest monthly premium for the silver level plan rate for a 40-year-old non-smoker is $219.69.  Only two of the states in that national report listed lower rates on this measure than Iowa’s.

The price for less robust coverage offered in what is called “Bronze” plans is, naturally, even lower in cost.  For the same individual used in the example above, the lowest cost bronze non-smoker plan in Des Moines would cost $148.99.

Factors of age, location and smoker status will result in differences in rates for Iowans.  For instance, the 40-year-old smoker’s monthly rate for the silver plan would be $329.32 instead of $219.69. Rates also move higher or lower with age as well.  While the above examples are intended to illustrate a comparison based on a standard case, the significance of each of the rate variables in combination means that each person will have to enter their own information on the online site in order to determine their own personally applicable premium costs for their coverage choices and circumstances.

Iowans can access information about the available plans and prices in their parts of the state on the marketplace website by October 1 at the latest.  The phone number for the federal call center about the plan choices is 800-318-2596.

About the Iowa Insurance Division

The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) has general control, supervision and direction over all insurance and securities business transacted in the state, and enforces Iowa’s insurance and securities laws and regulations. The IID investigates consumer complaints and prosecutes companies, agents and brokers engaging in unfair trade practices. Consumers with insurance or securities-related questions or complaints may contact the IID toll free at 877-955-1212 or visit the Division on the web at