The Iowa Insurance Division announced Thursday it will hold public hearings on its "stopgap" plan to prop up the state's individual insurance market in 2018. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen proposed the plan in June.
Ommen says he’s working with federal officials to fix some issues in the stopgap plan as they move toward approval.
"We're needing to work very very quickly to move through a process that was designed to take years in order to get approved," Ommen says.
The stopgap plan would change some aspects of the Affordable Care Act to encourage more insurance companies to offer ACA-compliant plans in Iowa. Medica is the only company that filed to sell plans in Iowa in 2018. Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has said it would re-enter the market if the stopgap measure is approved.
As the U.S. Senate considers a new healthcare bill, Ommen says he believes the Trump administration is more open to flexibility for states.
"We believe Congress needs to act," Ommen says. "But even if Congress were to enact new legislation and reset the rules, we would still be in a real difficult place in Iowa without our stopgap measure."
Ommen says he will likely move forward with the plan if a new healthcare bill is passed.
Iowa's plan would shift tax credits to younger, healthier people to encourage them to buy health insurance. It would keep the ACA's Essential Health Benefits in place, and it would provide a reinsurance mechanism for the most expensive claims.
Ommen says this plan is very important for Iowa and he would like to hear all viewpoints.
The first public hearing is July 19 in Council Bluffs, and two more will follow in Des Moines August 2 and Cedar Rapids August 10. The Insurance Division is also accepting written comments through August 14.