As of 2014, Iowa was among states with the lowest uninsured rates. Health insurance options for Iowans have expanded since Obamacare took effect. Individuals and families who buy their own healthcare benefits—as opposed to getting them from an employer—can purchase coverage on and away from the state’s federally facilitated exchange or, if they qualify, gain access to benefits through public programs such as Medicaid and CHIP.
Iowa and the Affordable Care Act
When the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business, Iowa formed a state-federal partnership exchange with the intention of transitioning to a state-based exchange in 2016.
Iowans who buy their health insurance plans from the Health Insurance Marketplace, which is sometimes referred to as HIX, may be eligible for income-based financial assistance. Premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies are only available to those who buy their coverage through HIX.
Those who prefer not to buy from the Health Insurance Marketplace or do not qualify for subsidies can explore additional health plan options in the private marketplace. Websites such as HealthCare.com provide quotes and may provide access to plans that are not available through Iowa’s exchange.
Iowans can also shop and get quotes for dental benefits, supplemental health plans, Medicare supplement plans, and short term health insurance coverage at HealthCare.org.
Employers that have 50 or fewer full-time employees can offer healthcare benefits through SHOP, the Small Business Health Options Program.
Medicaid expansion in Iowa
Iowa is among the states that expanded Medicaid to single, low-income adults ages 19 to 64. Iowa’s partnership model for Medicaid expansion requires that the state make final eligibility determinations for applicants.
More information about Iowa Medicaid can be found at http://dhs.iowa.gov/iahealthlink.
Iowa’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is called hawk-i and eligibility and application information for hawk-i is available online.