IOWA CAPITOL DIGEST: More insurance options to be available

IOWA CAPITOL DIGEST: More insurance options to be available

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A roundup of state government and Capitol news items of interest for Monday, Jan. 6, 2020:

MORE INSURANCE OPTIONS: Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said Monday that Iowans looking to buy their own health coverage who are either priced out of or failed to enroll in the Affordable Care Act market will have more short-term limited-duration health plans available that are compliant with new state regulations regarding benefits.

The Iowa Insurance Division has approved five carriers to sell the short-term plans this year and is working with several other carriers to approve their short-term plans for sale in Iowa.

Consumers can double-check to make sure the carrier is approved to sell short-term plans in Iowa at https://iid.iowa.gov/health-insurance.

“As the ACA individual health insurance market has become unaffordable for anyone not utilizing federal subsidies, Iowa has continued to work in common-sense ways to help provide options so Iowans have access to affordable health coverage,” Ommen said. “While short-term limited-duration coverage was previously meant to fill small gaps, due to the unaffordability of ACA coverage, we’ve worked hard with carriers and other stakeholders to develop common-sense regulations at the state level that will help provide meaningful health coverage to Iowans at a price they can afford through short-term limited-duration plans.”

In August 2018, changes to federal regulations extended the available length of short-term plans from 90 days to 364 days and allowed them to be renewable for a period of up to three years. The Iowa Insurance Division adopted new state regulations last February that require short-term plans to provide consumers with a base set of benefits, out-of-pocket maximums and a minimum level of coverage. Companies that were offering previously approved three-month plans were permitted to continue selling the non-compliant plans through Dec. 31. This ensured that Iowans already using previously approved short-term plans would not lose access as carriers worked to develop compliant plans. Effective Jan. 1, all carriers offering short-term plans in Iowa must offer only plans that are compliant with state regulations. Consumers who bought non-compliant plans before Jan. 1 may continue to use their plan to the end of the term, which should not extend past March 31.

GREGG LEADS GOP LIEUTENANT GOVERNORS: The Republican Lieutenant Governors Association announced Monday that Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg will serve as the group’s chairman for the 2020 election cycle.

Gregg, who serves as Iowa’s 47th lieutenant governor, previously was the state public defender and the GOP nominee for attorney general in 2014.

Now, in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration, Gregg serves as chairman of the Governor’s FOCUS Committee on Criminal Justice Reform and co-chairman of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.

“Lieutenant governors play a special role in guiding the direction of our states, serving as key partners to administrations across the country,” Gregg said after being named to lead the GOP group.

Last week, the association and its strategic policy partner, the State Government Leadership Foundation, announced they had jointly raised $19 million in 2019 to be used to support Republicans on the ballot this year.

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