Insurance division to take comments on insurance stopgap measure

DES MOINES — The Iowa Insurance Division has set some meetings for the public to comment on its “stopgap plan” to prop up the state’s individual health insurance market.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen proposed the plan one month ago. It would change some aspects of the Affordable Care Act to encourage more insurance companies to offer A-C-A-compliant plans in Iowa. Only one company has filed to sell plans in 2018.

Ommen says he’s working with federal officials to fix some issues in the stopgap plan as they move toward approval. “Because of the calendar we’re needing to work very very quickly to move through a process that was designed to take years in order to get approved. So yes, we are still targeting it for 2018,” Ommen says.

Iowa only has one carrier planning to sell the palns next year. Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has said it would re-enter the market if the stopgap measure is approved. Ommen says he believes this administration is more open to flexibility for states as the U-S Senate considers a new healthcare bill. “We believe Congress needs to act. But even if Congress were to enact new legislation and reset the rules, we would still be in a real difficult place in Iowa without our stopgap measure.”

The first public meeting is next week in Council Bluffs, and two more will follow in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. The Insurance Division is also accepting written comments through August 14th.

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