We at Legal Insurrection have documented the damage Obamacare has done to the insurance market, with costs skyrocketing to the point that companies have pulled out. If they cannot make a profit they cannot provide coverage.

For the last few weeks, Iowa’s individual health insurance market showed signs of collapse as companies pulled out one after another. The state started to panic, even asking “the federal government to let it alter parts of the Affordable Care Act in an effort to entice insurers into selling plans in the state.”

The small insurance company Medica has come to save Iowa after the company’s officials decided to remain in the state, making it the only company in the market. But officials said it has to charge higher premiums in order to stay afloat.

The Des Moines Register reported:

“When you find yourself as the only ones between people getting access to care and people not getting access to care, your view of the situation becomes very different,” Medica Vice President Geoff Bartsh said in a prepared statement. “We’ve filed with the intent to provide access to insurance for all Iowans, whether they are farmers, small business owners or other individuals who need coverage.”

The relatively small, Minnesota-based carrier told Iowa regulators Monday that in order to stay in the market, they would need to increase premiums by an average of 43.5 percent. Many Iowans who buy individual insurance would be protected from much of that increase by subsidies they receive under the Affordable Care Act. But others would bear the full cost.

But Bartsch stated that 43& increases “are not sustainable long term.” He mentioned “that the individual market still needs reform.”

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen thanked Medica for staying. From The Iowa Gazette:

“We appreciate and understand Medica’s desire to provide coverage in all of Iowa’s 99 counties. That is our goal as well,” said Ommen in a statement. “We are concerned that Iowa has hit a point within our market’s collapse that a 43 percent rate increase will drive healthier, younger and middle-aged individuals out of the market.

“Iowa’s individual market remains unsustainable and needs a fix from Congress. Iowa will continue to move forward with the Proposed Stopgap Measure.”

Stopgap Measure

Ommen asked for a “stopgap measure” when he thought Iowa would not have any carriers in the market. The Des Moines Register reported:

It would use about $80 million in federal money to set up a “reinsurance” program, which would help carriers shoulder costs of members who need more than $100,000 per year in health care.

Ommen’s stopgap plan also would tweak subsidies to give young people more help than they receive now and older consumers less help than they receive now. The goal would be to attract more young people to insurance pools, which are now weighted down with too many older consumers, who tend to have more expensive health needs, Ommen has said. The Iowa plan also would spend more federal money on helping pay premiums and would stop using federal money to help poorer consumers cover their deductibles.

If approved, the measure would allow carriers to “only sell one standard plan on the state’s individual health insurance market, which compares to an ObamaCare silver plan.”

It would also establish “set up a reinsurance program to pay insurers for high-cost enrollees.” The Hill noted that a teenage patient had medical claims that added up to $1 million a month.

Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Larry Levitt, an organization that provides information on health policy issues, told The Hill that the measure would have “winners and losers,” but that it “could keep insurers in the market.”

Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield said it would come back to Iowa if the government approves the measure.


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