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Senator Dix Advocates for Obamacare Fix - August 17, 2017

This week Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix sent letters to Secretary of  Health and Human Services Tom Price and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. The letters advocated for their approval of the waiver submitted by the Iowa Insurance Division to stabilize the individual insurance market in Iowa. Selected excerpts from the letters are below.

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, I have had deep concerns about the stability of the insurance marketplace and the eventual implosion of this ill-conceived legislation. Today, I am writing to ask for your support of the Iowa Insurance Division’s Section 1332 innovation waiver (stopgap measure) to stabilize the individual health insurance market in Iowa. The Iowa Insurance Division developed this measure in response to the potential full collapse of the individual insurance market in Iowa. This stopgap measure will ensure there is an option for roughly 72,000 Iowans who purchase insurance through the individual market...

… significant premium increases are leading young and healthy Iowans to opt out of insurance coverage. Facing a loss in healthy and young enrollees, insurance companies are now deciding to leave the state instead of requesting higher and higher premiums each year. Our two largest individual insurers, Wellmark and Aetna, announced earlier this year they would not be offering any individual ACA compliant plans in Iowa for 2018. More recently, Gundersen Health Plan also indicated they will not be offering any individual plans in 2018. Our last carrier, Medica, has recently filed plans which will be available in 2018, but they are also requesting an average premium rate increase of 43% compared to its 2017 rates. Even though Medica has filed plans to be available in 2018, there is no guarantee Medica will indeed offer those plans next year. 

Iowa is truly in a dire situation due to the burdensome requirements of the ACA and its practical implications. Commissioner Ommen has my full confidence and support in implementing this stopgap measure. This may be Iowa’s only chance at avoiding the total collapse of our individual insurance market, leaving 72,000 Iowans without an option for insurance.