Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, along with Iowa Insurance Division Commissioner Nick Gerhart, today moved forward with administrative action allowing Iowa health care insurers to extend current insurance plans and protecting Iowans from being forced off plans they chose.
"Iowans deserve predictability and stability in their health care coverage," said Branstad. "The guidance issued today protects Iowans from losing plans they like, but also allows Iowans the flexibility to shop for a plan on the exchange."
Last year, Branstad, Reynolds, and Gerhart wrote to former United State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius asking for a three year extension for association health plans, saying, "In President Obama's press conference on April 30, 2013 he stated "If you already got health insurance, then that part of Obamacare that affects you, it's pretty much already in place.'"
Sebelius granted a one year extension, without which 65,000 Iowa Farm Bureau members would have lost their insurance.
In June 2013, the Branstad Administration allowed a one-year plan extension, allowing Iowans to keep the coverage they enjoyed while also allowing for the freedom and flexibility to review plans on the exchanges.
"First, with the Farm Bureau extension and then the plan year extension, Iowa has been a leader in allowing Iowans who like their insurance to keep it," said Reynolds. "Today's action continues that commitment and gives Iowans certainty in their coverage."
In the guidance issued by the Iowa Insurance Division, Gerhart said, "We have concerns about policy cancellations and the anxiety Iowans face when they receive cancellation notices." Gerhart continues that the goal of the Iowa Insurance Division in issuing this guidance is "to assure that Iowa consumers have access to health care coverage in a stable, competitive health insurance market."
As of April 15, 2014, 18 other states have taken similar action allowing plan extensions pursuant to the March 5, 2014 guidance from the HHS.
Approximately 330,000 individual and small group members are impacted by the extension, which was secured by the Branstad administration in an effort to protect Iowans. The Iowa Insurance Division allowed all Iowa carriers to extend their plan year on existing small group and individual coverage through 2016. The extension provides additional time to become more informed about what the changes in the market mean without losing the current coverage they know and trust.