Monday, January 6, 2020

Des Moines - As the new year approaches, Iowans who are looking to purchase their own health coverage and are either priced-out of or failed to enroll in the ACA market will have more short-term limited-duration (STLD) health plans available that are compliant with new state regulations regarding benefits.

As of today, the Iowa Insurance Division has approved five carriers to sell STLD plans in 2020 and is working with several other carriers to approve their STLD plans for sale in Iowa.  Consumers can double-check to make sure the carrier is approved to sell STLD plans in Iowa by checking https://iid.iowa.gov/health-insurance.

“As the ACA individual health insurance market has become unaffordable for anyone not utilizing federal subsidies, Iowa has continued to work in common-sense ways to help provide options so Iowans have access to affordable health coverage,”  Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said.  “While short-term limited-duration coverage was previously meant to fill small gaps, due to the unaffordability of ACA coverage, we’ve worked hard with carriers and other stakeholders to develop common-sense regulations at the state level that will help provide meaningful health coverage to Iowans at a price they can afford through short-term limited-duration plans.”

In August 2018, changes to federal regulations extended the available length of STLD plans from 90 days to 364 days and allowed them to be renewable for a period of up to three years.

The Iowa Insurance Division adopted new state regulations in February 2019 that require STLD plans to provide consumers with a base set of benefits, out of pocket maximums and a minimum level of coverage.  Companies that were currently offering previously approved three month STLD plans were permitted to continue selling the non-compliant STLD plans through December 31, 2019. This ensured that Iowans already utilizing previously approved STLD plans would not lose access to benefits as carriers worked to develop compliant plans.

“Contrary to some national talking points, all short-term limited-duration policies are not ‘junk’ plans.  Every state has the authority to ensure minimum standards and consumer protections. Under Iowa’s administrative rules, short-term limited-duration policies are a viable health coverage option, especially for the many Iowa consumers priced out of the ACA individual health insurance market,” Ommen said.

Beginning January 1, 2020, all carriers offering STLD plans in Iowa must only offer plans that are compliant with Iowa regulations.  Consumers who purchased non-compliant STLD plans prior to January 1, 2020, may continue to utilize their plan to the end of the term, which should not extend past March 31, 2020.

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