Iowa Obamacare Insurer Hiking Rates 43.5 Percent

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Minnesota-based Medica, one of the few remaining insurance providers on the Iowa Obamacare exchanges, announced Monday afternoon that it will offer plans on the state exchanges in 2018, but proposed an average premium increase of 43.5 percent.

The company’s decision is somewhat good news for low-to-moderate income consumers in Iowa that are reliant on the state exchanges for health insurance. Consumers will have at least one provider offering plans in the Obamacare marketplace. The bad news, as Medica announced Monday, is that for all products the average premium increase will be 43.5 percent, The Iowa Gazette reports.

“Rate increases of 43 percent are not sustainable long term,” Geoff Bartsh, Medica vice president of individual and family business, said in a statement. “The bottom line is that the individual market still needs reform. We will continue to work with federal and state officials to provide the certainty and stability needed for markets to succeed long-term.”

Medica currently has some 14,000 members in Iowa and was the only beacon of hope for some Obamacare customers in the state. Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield announced their exits from the Iowa Obamacare exchanges in April, leaving nearly 58,000 people scrambling to find an insurance provider. (RELATED: Insurance Companies Ditching Obamacare Follow A Similar Trend)

Major insurance providers across the U.S. are asking for double-digit premium increases for 2018, as they face uncertainty from the President Donald Trump’s administration as to whether or not they will keep receiving Obamacare subsidy payments. Another reason insurers are asking for such drastic rate increases is that they are finding it difficult to enroll enough health individuals in the state exchanges to offset the cost of sicker, riskier enrollees.

“When you find yourself as the only ones between people getting access to care and people not getting access to care, your view of the situation becomes very different,” Bartsch said. “We’ve filed with the intent to provide access to insurance for all Iowans, whether they are farmers, small business owners or other individuals who need coverage.”

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