Governor Kim Reynolds has signed legislation that supporters say will offer a cheaper option to Iowans who do not qualify for federal subsidies and cannot afford to buy health insurance.
“Approximately 26,000 Iowans left the insurance market this year alone,” Reynolds said. “… These are farmers. These are small business owners and their employees.”
The Farm Bureau and associations representing groups of Iowa businesses will now be able to market “health benefit arrangements” that are not insurance and that do not comply with federal Affordable Care Act rules. For example, rates will be dramatically reduced if coverage pre-existing conditions like diabetes is not included. Reynolds said Iowa lawmakers “are done waiting” for congress to act at the federal level to fix ObamaCare.
“I have to balance the needs of Iowans,” Reynolds told reporters.
Reynolds held a bill signing event in her statehouse office this. She invited two Iowans who may be able to buy these health benefit plans to speak. Rose Danaher, a Farm Bureau member who raises cattle on a farm just north of the Amana Colonies.
“I lost my health insurance last year when Iowa’s marketplace collapsed and, as most of you have heard, those of us that lost our plans really had one option remaining for health care coverage,” she said. “I don’t mind paying more than my fair share to help stabilize the marketplace, but there’s no reason a healthy 32 year old should be paying more for health insurance than for her mortgage.”
Josh Crist, an electrician who farms in the Tipton area, sees these new health benefit arrangements as “another option” to insurance.
“I want to continue to grow my electrical business in Tipton, provide competitive benefits and pay to my employees, but the increased insurance costs are always a concern,” Crist said.
Crist says he and his wife — who have four daughters — are paying $24,000 this year for health care coverage for the family. The health benefit plans authorized by the new state law wouldn’t be sold until 2019.