DES MOINES, Iowa -- Individual health insurance in Iowa looks to have taken a knockout blow. "In Iowa we don't have a stable market. With Blue Cross-Wellmark pulling out, Aetna pulling out, maybe Medica pulling out, the market is definitely not stable," said Eric Kohsldorf, president and client strategist at an insurance brokerage firm in Des Moines called Prisma Strategies, has heard the voices of despair over the phone. "We are getting calls in our office from our individual clients as well as in the individual market looking for their options."
Kohlsdorf believes many of the 70,000 Iowans will have a shoulder to lean on and an option that keeps them insured even with Medica's possible defection. He said, "In the Obama-care or ACA, a group is an individual of one. So, as long as they are drawing a W-2 income, we can set up a group policy and they can convert it right into the group market."
Iowans also have time to develop a plan. "Certainly nobody is at risk until the end of the year because every insurance company is on the hook to cover until the end of the calendar year," said Kohlsdorf.
While an escape route looks to be available, Kohlsdorf said the price for some may not be easy to swallow, "The bigger issue is those individuals that fall under the 400% of the federal poverty level for income. They are currently getting a subsidy from the federal government that pays part of their premium so when they move into the group market, that premium subsidy goes away."
The elephant in the room, pre-existing conditions under a bill that narrowly passed the house Thursday and heads to the senate. Kohlsdorf says as long as you are currently insured and don't drop your coverage it should be smooth sailing. "If I had cancer and I'm currently insured and I keep my insurance I'm not going to get kicked off if I have a pre-existing condition. That's how the bill was worded that passed today (Thursday).