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Uncertainty About Plan To Stabilize Individual Insurance Market

Des Moines, Iowa — The state’s insurance commissioner says he is growing “less optimistic” federal regulators will approve his stop-gap plan to try to help 72-thousand Iowans keep health care coverage next year.

The State of Iowa has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for a waiver, so the Affordable Care Act subsidies Iowans use to buy private insurance may be redirected. The state insurance commissioner wants to target those subsidies to younger, healthier people, plus he would send some of the subsidies directly to insurance companies. The money would be used to cover the costs of treatment for seriously ill customers. The hope is those moves would reduce premium costs for every Iowan buying health insurance on the individual market.

Just one company plans to offer individual policies in 2018 through the Affordable Care Act exchange. Enrollment for 2018 policies on the exchange begins November 1st. That means federal officials will have to approve the state’s waiver soon if the subsidy changes are to be made in time.

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