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Iowans may have to wait to enroll in new health plans

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 12:47 p.m. CST

AMES (MCT) — While enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act openstoday, Iowans may have to wait a little longer to sign up.

Iowa is one of 11 states that have chosen to implement their own Marketplace instead of adopting the federal plan. Known as the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, Iowa’s plan needs a waiver from the federal government in order to proceed.

This partial expansion is possible following a Supreme Court ruling that the federal government cannot punish states that choose not to expand Medicaid cover to the full 135 percent of the federal poverty level, Deyoe said.

According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowans age 19-64 who have a yearly income of up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or FPL, will be covered by Iowa Medicaid and will have access to the Medicaid provider network.

Iowans age 19-64 with an income 101-133 percent of the FPL will be able to select certain commercial health plans through the Iowa Marketplace Choice Plan.

This will replace Iowa’s current program to cover low-income adults, IowaCare, which expires Dec. 31.

Iowa’s waivers were submitted for federal approval at the end of August

One waiver was for the Iowa Wellness Plan, and the other was for the Marketplace Choice Plan. Together, these two plans comprise the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan.

Dr. Michael Kitchell, a neurologist at McFarland Clinic in Ames, doesn’t see that as a problem. There will still be plenty of time for people to sign up, he said.

“Hopefully we’ll hear in the next few days if Governor Branstad’s plan will be a go or not,” Kitchell said. “We’ve got plenty of time.”

Iowans have until Dec. 15 to enroll in the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan in order for coverage to begin on Jan. 2.

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Š2013 the Ames Tribune, www.amestrib.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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