Possible Medica Departure Could Leave Iowans Empty Handed In ACA Marketplace

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The thought has become one that is shared by tens of thousands of Iowans. "I'm going to have to make a backup plan and I don't know what my back up plan is going to be."  Another month, another situation causing worry to self-employed Iowans like Cat Rocketship, a Des Moines artist who has Aetna health insurance. She said, "I don`t want to rely on hoping that I stay healthy. The last time I was paying for my own insurance I had a major accident, so I was lucky I had insurance."

In April, Wellmark dropped individual coverage in Iowa citing 90 million dollars in losses over three years. Days later Aetna followed suit creating a roller coaster ride for TJ Roberts from Leland.  "Once we heard Aetna was out, we knew Medica was the only one left and that's what we were planning on doing next year."

That may no longer be an option,"I expect Medica to pull out," said Cat.  Medica, a health services company, based in Minnesota, provided a statement that has left many Iowans feeling uneasy about were to turn next saying, "Without swift action by the state or congress to provide stability to Iowa's individual insurance market, Medica will not be able to serve the citizens of Iowa in the manner and breadth that we do today."

With house republicans continuing to be at odds over a replacement for the ACA, the Iowa Insurance Division believes a compromise could solve the problem.  They provided a statement to WHO-TV which said, "This is causing significant angst among Iowa consumers who depend on the individual market for health coverage. This is a problem caused by the ACA and needs to be fixed by congress."

Medica's pending decision will immediately impact 14,000 individual members in Iowa.  Another 56,000 are still in limbo after Wellmark and Aetna called it quits.  Roberts said, "One option would be to not have health insurance at all, which would not be the best option for us because we have three children."

As legislators debate policy, self-employed Iowans may be forced to debate how they make a living.  "People like me, I'm a small business owner and I have a team of people to run my projects and if I have to find full time work elsewhere, it's going to impact my business," said Cat.

The Iowa Insurance Division has not been told by Medica of any plans to drop individual coverage from the marketplace in Iowa.  All insurers have until June 19th to determine their future in the state of Iowa.