Insurance Stopgap Could Keep Iowans Insured

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Congress is unable to agree on how to repair or replace the Affordable Care Act, and Iowa leaders are asking the federal government to approve a fix to keep Iowans insured.

“The stopgap measure does not change all problems within the Affordable Health Care Act, it’s not designed to do that, but it is a better way to stabilize our market in this time of real uncertainty," Iowa Insurance Division Chairman Doug Ommen said in a press conference.

It's uncertainty that has led to providers already ditching the Iowa market.

"The rates no longer reflect anything that becomes affordable for an individual without a subsidy," Ommen said.

That's where the Iowa Insurance Division's stopgap comes into play.

“Our best way to keep a market in place to allows insurance to be affordable for those that rely on the individual insurance market," Ommen said.

Without it, chairman Ommen predicts nearly 20,000 Iowans will go uninsured in 2018. This is a concern for the American Cancer Society, which says it puts some of its patients at risk.

“We kind of furrow our brow. Obviously we want to see as many Iowans as possible have the access they need. Going through a cancer journey you need to have health coverage, it's absolutely critical. And we worry that parts of this plan will have a negative impact on some lower income Iowans," said Noah Tabor, Relations Director of the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society's concern could be a reality.

“In the event of a crisis event, they would still have that higher deductible of $7,000," Ommen said.

Cancer patients will see lower premiums, but will still pay higher deductibles.

There is no timeline on when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Treasury will approved this measure, but Ommen hopes it's before open enrollment November 1st.