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Iowa Senate OKs “Barebones” Health Insurance Policies

Statewide Iowa — (Radio Iowa) Iowans getting their insurance policies through the “ObamaCare” marketplace would have a new, cheaper option under a bill the Iowa Senate approved Wednesday night. The bill would allow the Iowa Farm Bureau to sell “health benefit plans” offered by Wellmark that aren’t subject to the same coverage requirements as traditional insurance, making the premiums less expensive.

Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, says the bill will help Iowans who can no longer afford to buy an individual insurance policy. 

If the bill becomes law, independent insurance agents around the state would be able to sell these cheaper “health benefit plans,” but the plans would only be available to Farm Bureau members.

Senator Julian Garrett, a Republican from Indianola, says this option would solve a “big problem” for self-employed Iowans, including farmers.

Nine Democrats in the Senate voted against the bill. Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, was one of them.

Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says these are “buyer beware policies” that may lead to FINANCIAL shock when people discover their plan won’t the cover the costs of things like cancer drugs.

Other Democrats argued Medica, the only company left selling individual insurance policies in Iowa, would be financially harmed as it loses customers who buy the Farm Bureau/Wellmark plans. Forty of the fifty state senators voted FOR the bill. Similar legislation is pending in the Iowa House. 

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