Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen today issued a bulletin providing guidance to Iowa consumers and insurers regarding the CMS decision to allow transitional policies to be extended through calendar year 2021.

“I appreciate CMS taking the action to extend transitional policies.  Without this action, roughly 1.1 million individuals nationally and 72,000 Iowans would be forced off their healthcare plans and Iowans would be forced to choose between going uninsured or purchasing an ACA policy with a premium that has tripled since 2015,” Ommen said.  “As we’ve seen over the past few years, the collapsed ACA market has caused those bearing the full cost of the premiums to simply leave the market.”

“Thousands of Iowans have expressed their preference for health coverage flexibility in their choice to keep their transition plan first purchased in 2013.  The ACA transition plans are good plans and despite the inability for insurers to sell new policies, thousands of Iowans like their transition plans and want to keep them.  With annual federal government relief and despite the ACA’s actual prohibition on such flexibility, thousands of Iowans have held onto their “transition” insurance plans. Iowans should be assured that they have access to a policy that fits their needs and not be forced to go without affordable insurance coverage,” Ommen said.  “Ultimately only Congress can fix the structural flaws in the ACA. Until Congress acts, transitional policies need to be extended, but time is of the essence to fix the ACA.”

The Iowa Insurance Division has continually called on Congress to address the structural flaws of the ACA. 

“Only Congress can fix the problems created by the ACA, although states, like Iowa, have been able to increase affordable options for some through the extension of short term limited duration coverages, approval of association health plans, and the authority for a nonprofit agricultural cooperative to offer health care plans.  Section 1332 or state empowerment waivers continue to offer some potential adjustments, but real opportunity for consumers to choose from affordable plans that fit their families’ needs will require Congress to act. Whether the “fix” is amending the ACA, or replacing the ACA with a law by a different name with some of the same coverage guarantees, it is clear that the federal law must be changed so states can protect consumers and return affordable coverage plans to the individual insurance market,” Ommen said.  “Iowa can properly regulate our own market in a manner that best serves Iowans.”

ACA Background

For further background information and charts on the ACA in Iowa, visit https://iid.iowa.gov/aca-background.

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