New state website to be used if feds grant ObamaCare waiver

DES MOINES — The State of Iowa has built a new website that will be used if federal officials approve a new approach to helping about 72,000 Iowans buy new individual health insurance policies.

Chance McElhaney, a spokesman for the Iowa Insurance Commissioner, says if the feds approve Iowa’s waiver, those Iowans will use a new state website to see if they’re eligible to buy insurance from one of the two companies that have agreed to sell 2018 policies.

“That is online now,” McElhaney says. “The eligibility portal will flip once open enrollment hits November 1.”

However, those 72,000 Iowans won’t be able to buy insurance on that website on November 1. McElhaney says a consumer will answer a number of questions there to determine if they are eligible to buy an individual health insurance policy through the process set up by the state.

“They will get a letter in the mail once eligibility is determined,” McElhaney says. “That letter will have the amount of their premium credit and it will have an eligibility code.”

That means — if Iowa gets the federal waiver to set up this system — those 72,000 Iowans will have to wait for delivery of the letter and use the code in that letter to buy policies from either Medica or Wellmark. McElhaney says his agency has “marketing ready to go” if Iowa gets the federal waiver — to help the 72,000 Iowans navigate the new system.

“We’ve done about everything that we possibly can and have been working tirelessly on this,” McElhaney says. “…We’re going to get this over the goal line.”

On Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters that if Iowa gets the go-ahead to launch its alternative plan for individual insurance policies, she’s confident the state website will handle all the traffic from those 72,000 Iowans.

Find the website here.

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