Following Wellmark and Aetna’s lead, the last insurer left on Iowa’s Obamacare exchange is poised to exit the exchange.
Medica, an insurance company, based in Minnetonka, MN, alluded that the instability in Iowa’s individual insurance market in Iowa may cause them to pull out. Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna stopped selling individual insurance in Iowa’s health insurance exchange created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) after the bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.
“Without swift action by the state or Congress to provide stability to Iowa’s individual insurance market, Medica will not be able to serve the citizens of Iowa in the manner and breadth that we do today. We are examining the potential of limited offerings, but our ability to stay in the Iowa insurance market in any capacity is in question at this point,” Medica said in a statement released today.
Medica’s exit will leave 70,000 Iowans who buy individual coverage without health insurance options for 2018. Insurers in the state argued that Obamacare was primarily responsible for their decisions to withdraw. Their exit will not impact Iowans insured through their employer.
The move is not surprising to those who have opposed Obamacare.
“Medica’s announcement alluding towards a withdrawal from the Iowa health insurance market is troubling, but unfortunately not surprising. We have already seen our two largest carriers make similar announcements citing unaffordable costs under the failed Obamacare law. Obamacare’s rules and regulations drive up costs and limit choice in Iowa. How many more insurers need to withdraw from state markets before lawmakers in Washington get the message? We are calling on federal lawmakers to repeal the Obamacare law and replace it with a plan that will allow Iowans to get the coverage they need,” Drew Klein, the Iowa State Director for Americans for Prosperity said in a released statement.
Iowa is not the only state facing this problem. Nationwide, numerous insurance carriers have left state exchanges leaving several states with just one provider. For the 2017 enrollment period five states – Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming – just had one provider. Iowa joined those ranks leading up to the 2018 enrollment period.
As of last fall nine states – Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia – had two carriers.