1. Home
  2. Press Releases

Iowa Seeks Federal Approval of Health Insurance Stopgap Measure

Submitted on Monday, June 12, 2017


Proposed Stopgap Measure Ensures 72,000 Iowans Have Access to Health Insurance in 2018

(Des Moines) –Iowa’s Insurance Division has proposed a Stopgap Measure to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure all Iowans have access to health insurance in 2018. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has left Iowa’s individual health insurance market without a participating carrier in 2018. Iowans throughout all 99 counties will likely be left without access to purchase health insurance on the individual market. Iowa needs an individual market that works in all of Iowa’s 99 counties. The proposed Stopgap Measure is the only solution in which a health insurance carrier has committed to sell health insurance in every county of Iowa’s individual market. The proposed measure will provide consumers with age- and income-based tax credits and will utilize a reinsurance mechanism for costly medical claims.  

"Iowa’s individual health market has collapsed as result of the Affordable Care Act. The proposed Stopgap Measure is the only proposal ensuring that health insurance will be sold to those utilizing Iowa’s individual market in all of Iowa’s 99 counties in 2018.  We are hopeful multiple carriers will participate to offer Iowans choices,” Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said. “Iowa needs CMS to approve the Proposed Stopgap Measure quickly. We are optimistic CMS will approve Iowa’s Stopgap Measure, but without CMS approval, 72,000 Iowans will be uninsured.”

The Stopgap Measure was designed in partnership with the Iowa Insurance Division, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Medica. Iowa Insurance Commissioner, Doug Ommen, along with Wellmark Chairman and CEO, John Forsyth, and Medica Vice President, Geoff Bartsch, discussed the Proposed Stopgap Measure with CMS last week.

“Wellmark is supportive of the proposed Stopgap Measure submitted to CMS because it includes the three principles we have continuously advocated for: creation of a viable risk pool, sharing catastrophic expenses, and product flexibility. If the measure is approved in a timely manner with these principles intact, Wellmark will offer the approved individual health insurance plan in all 99 counties in Iowa for 2018,” said Wellmark Chairman and CEO, John Forsyth.

The health coverage sold under the Stopgap Measure to consumers during open enrollment of 2018 will be  guaranteed issue, include all of the Essential Health Benefits of the ACA and any additional benefits required by Iowa law, and will protect consumers from annual and lifetime caps. The Stopgap Measure is a short-term solution, but Iowa and many other states need a long-term fix from Congress to stabilize the damage done by the ACA.

Click here to view the proposed Stopgap Measure presented to CMS.  Iowans may comment on the proposed Stopgap Measure directly online at or in writing sent via mail to the Iowa Insurance Division, Attn: Public Comments, 601 Locust Street 4th Floor, Des Moines, Iowa 50309.  Information about public hearings will be forthcoming and posted at at a future date.