New Plan Offered to Cover Iowans Who May Get Left Out if Health Insurers Bail

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DES MOINES, Iowa–Iowa’s health insurance system, much like the entire country, seems to be in complete chaos right now as politicians locally and nationally argue over what plan is best. Amid that confusion over the future of the Affordable Care Act, a Democratic state senator has offered an alternative: expand what Iowa already has.

On Monday, State Senator Janet Petersen, of Des Moines, pitched an idea that would expand the current hawk-i plan, which currently offers subsidized health insurance coverage to lower-income families. Petersen wants the plan available to all Iowans, regardless of income.

Details on current Healthy And Well in Kids in Iowa (hawk-i). 

“The clock is ticking,” Petersen said at a news conference, “These families’ financial security is at stake. It’s an issue weighing heavily on their hearts.”

Petersen acknowledges the plan isn’t a cure-all. It would be limited to the estimated 11,000 children who could be left without coverage next year if no companies offer plans. It wouldn’t cover the remaining 61,000 adults.

But she believes it will relieve some of the angst of families worried about their children’s coverage. And she doesn’t think it would require additional tax dollars, since the newly added families would pay their full insurance premiums.

Iowa’s Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen has already talked about his own “stop-gap” alternative. Both plans could require federal approval to implement.


(Des Moines State Senator Janet Petersen. Photo credit: Senator Petersen).