Iowa Health Insurance
Many Iowans have new options to access health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act, and they can expect more upcoming changes. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation state profile, Gov. Terry Branstad announced in December 2012 that the state plans to transition to its own health insurance exchange by 2016. In addition, Iowa is expanding Medicaid eligibility in 2014.
Iowans can use the federal marketplace at HealthCare.gov to find an insurance plan. After registering for an account during open enrollment, individuals will answer questions about their family income and size.
You may qualify for financial assistance in the form of either public health insurance programs or subsidies for a private marketplace plan. Public plans include Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. Those eligible for a private marketplace plan can browse a list of qualified plans, and they can enroll through the website.
About 29,200 Iowans registered for plans through the marketplace as of early May 2014. Of these, 84 percent qualified for financial assistance. An additional 78,860 Iowans were eligible for either Medicaid or CHIP over 2013.
Do I qualify for a health insurance subsidy?
According to a January 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation profile, about 71 percent of uninsured and nonelderly Iowans are eligible for some type of financial assistance because of the ACA or Medicaid expansion. Typically, eligibility for subsidies is based on 2013 federal poverty guidelines, and Medicaid and CHIP eligibility are determined using 2014 guidelines. The following people may qualify for government aid.
- Residents with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level may be eligible for subsidies in the form of federal income tax credits. This range is between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four and between $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual.
- Because of Medicaid expansion, non-elderly and adult Iowans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $32,915 for a family of four, may be eligible for Medicaid.
- Children of Iowa families with incomes up to 380 percent of the poverty level –about $90,630 for a family of four — may be eligible for CHIP.
Typically, state residents with access to other forms of affordable health insurance, such as employer-sponsored plans, are not eligible for marketplace subsidies. Additionally, undocumented immigrants are not eligible, and qualification for documented immigrants is restricted.
If your income is higher than 400 percent of the poverty level, you may not qualify for a subsidy, but you’re still free to sign up for a health plan through the marketplace. Iowa residents who already have health plans are free to keep them as long as they stay in force.
Iowa health insurance companies
These companies in Iowa offer plans on the marketplace.
- Coventry Health Care of Iowa
- CoOportunity Health
- Avera Health Plans
- Gunderson Health Plan
Iowa health and coverage statistics
Iowa population (2013): 3,090,416
Population 65 and older (2012): 15.3 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 79.7 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 478,500
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 404,400
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 304,500
Overall state health ranking: 18
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Iowa health insurance resources
The federal marketplace: https://www.healthcare.gov
Iowa Insurance Division: http://www.iid.state.ia.us/
Iowa Department on Aging: https://www.iowaaging.gov/
Hawk-I (Iowa Children’s Health Insurance Program): http://www.hawk-i.org/
Iowa Medicaid Enterprise: http://dhs.iowa.gov/ime/