5OYS: What insurance option is best for you?

Local News

DES MOINES — As we approach enrollment season, there are new options this year offering a way to help people whose cost of insurance is just too expensive because of Obamacare.

Local 5’s Chief Investigative Reporter Rachel Droze dug into what options are out there as you decide.

Shopping for health insurance can be confusing.

Navigating the options out there, understanding premiums and deductibles, it can all be tricky to understand.

I sat down with Iowa’s Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen to learn what options are available and learn about ways they’re expanding coverage in Iowa to make up for what he says are high Obamacare premiums.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree America’s healthcare system needs to be changed.

Both sides making their cases on the issue.

“It’s much better than Obamacare,” said President Trump.

“I want to spend a minute telling you what Medicare for all is,” said presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

But neither taking action.

State officials like Ommen said that is hurting Iowans.

“There are people that will have circumstances that have not been able to buy coverage because the rates of now are essentially triple of what they were before the Affordable Care Act came into play.”

New for 2020, Ommen said the state extended eligibility for short term health plans.

“This is not a perfect option for everyone. This is really designed to allow an opportunity for people to get coverage that have been priced out of the individual market under the ACA.”

Iowans can buy short-term plans that cover them for 364 days at a time.

The plans can be renewed up to three times.

“So if you’re 63, and you’re looking for a bridge to Medicare, this may be something that you would be able to access to provide coverage guarantee for circumstances that arise during that time you are moving up toward Medicare.”

But as Ommen said, this option isn’t for everyone.

“If you have a pre-existing condition, the companies are able to not cover you.”

Other insurance options include:

Employer-Sponsored plans, which is group coverage provided by your employer.
Obamacare, which anyone can sign up for. Plans based on your income level and living situation.
Medicaid, which is for low-income people and people with disabilities.
Medicare, which is for people 65 and older.
Hawk-I, Health coverage for uninsured children of working families
Short-Term Limited-Duration Health Plan, provides coverage up to 364 days that may be renewed up to three times depending on the plan. Doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.
Farm Bureau Non-Insurance Health Plan, run by Farm Bureau, Administered by Wellmark. Written as non-insurance in Iowa law so as it doesn’t have to follow ACA rules.

If you have questions about health coverage, Ommen recommended to talk to an insurance agent. They’ll be able to find a plan to best fit your individual situation.

Ommen said Employer-Sponsored Health Plans are the most common type of health coverage in Iowa. 

In 2017, roughly 1.6 million Iowans got coverage through their employers according to the Iowa insurance Division. That’s 54% of the total population. Roughly 600,000 (19%) of Iowans had Medicare. Roughly 550,000 (18%) had Medicaid.

Medicare open enrollment is October 15 to December 7. For Obamacare, it’s November 1 to December 15.

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