One of the Iowans who doesn’t think they’ll be able to afford health insurance next year went to a statehouse event Friday to ask legislators for help — and some answers.
“I don’t care who gets it done. I just need it done,” 57-year-old Bill Zook told reporters after the event.
Zook, who lives in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny, earns too much to qualify for subsidies to buy insurance on the individual market. On Monday, Governor Reynolds said ObamaCare’s complicated rules don’t allow states to innovate and she withdrew Iowa’s “stopgap” plan that aimed to reduce premium hikes. Medica is the only insurance company left that will sell 2018 policies to the estimated 18,000 to 22,000 Iowans who must buy on the individual market.
Zook told reporters that Medica will charge him about $ 2400 a month, with a deductible of nearly $14,000. Adding on co-payments for office visits, Zook estimates he’d spend nearly $40,000 next year if he buys a Medica policy.
“I don’t know. You know there’s these Christian organizations, MediShare, those sorts of things that I’m researching,” Zook said. “Here we are almost at November 1st and I was waiting for the ‘stopgap’, I was waiting for people like these senators and representatives here for some solutions and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Zook, who says he has voted Republican, had hoped President Trump’s recent executive order allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines might help. But Zook can’t find any companies willing to sell him a policy.
“I’m confused where to go next,” Zook said. “My insurance agent, I talked to him, and he said: ‘Move out of state.'”
Zook told reporters it’s “not fair” that public employees in Iowa get health care benefits, while he may have to self-insure next year. Zook retired at the age of 55 after working in the retail industry. Six months after he retired, Zook’s former employer cancelled health insurance benefits for all retirees. Zook said he was told by his former company that policies sold on the “ObamaCare” exchange would be cheaper, but he said the Wellmark policies he bought were not cheap.
Wellmark is not selling individual policies in Iowa for 2018.