Iowa Asks U.S. for Obamacare Help Facing ‘Collapse’ of Market

Facing what it called a “collapse” of its Obamacare market next year, Iowa is asking the Trump administration to let it reallocate millions of dollars and create a stopgap program that would provide health insurance options for 72,000 Iowans covered by the Affordable Care Act.

Under the proposal made public on Monday, the state would use $352 million in federal money to provide backup funding for insurers and overhaul Obamacare’s subsidies for consumers next year. The state would also create a single standardized plan that insurers would offer.

“The proposed Stopgap Measure is the only proposal ensuring that health insurance will be sold to those utilizing Iowa’s individual market in all of Iowa’s 99 counties in 2018,” Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said in a statement Monday. Ommen was appointed by the state’s former governor, Republican Terry Branstad. “Iowa’s individual health market has collapsed as result of the Affordable Care Act,” Ommen said.

Across the U.S., many health insurers are quitting the state-based markets created by the ACA amid uncertainty over the law’s future, leaving consumers in some states with limited options — or in some cases, no options at all. Aetna Inc. and Wellmark Inc. said they wouldn’t sell Obamacare plans in Iowa for 2018, leaving just the insurer Medica in most of the state and sparking the crisis.

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