Gov. Reynolds says details about alternative insurance plans coming "soon"

Governor Kim Reynolds speaks at a press conference at the Iowa State Fair Thursday August 16. (Caroline Cummings)

Details on healthcare coverage plans designed to lower costs but avoid state and federal regulations will be released soon, Governor Kim Reynolds said Thursday.

The Iowa legislature passed a bill that Reynolds signed into law allowing the Iowa Farm Bureau and Wellmark to team up and craft "health benefit" plans designed to offer Iowans facing high premiums in the individual health insurance market an alternative option.

Because the plans are not technically considered insurance under the law, they are not subject to state and federal regulations, like those under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

Reynolds told reporters following a press conference Thursday the details of the kind of coverage in those plans are forthcoming.

“They’re still working on those details. They’ll be releasing them shortly," Reynolds said. "I believe open enrollment is in November so we’re hoping we can get some of the details out soon – sooner rather than later."

She said the plans will resemble the insurance options Farm Bureau offered prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but has not seen yet since the plans.

“We want Iowans to be able to see and have ample time make the decisions and move forward,” said Reynolds, who added she is "proud" to have worked with the GOP-controlled legislature to see the law through.

Supporters of the new law allowing the sale of non-Obamacare insurance contend that it's a lifeline to Iowans who make too much money to qualify for ACA subsidies and are paying skyrocketing premiums as a result.

But critics worry about the lack of regulation. Because the plans do not have to comply with Obamacare rules, certain health problems and pre-existing conditions might not be covered under the Farm Bureau plans, which is also a concern for those against the new changes.

Open enrollment begins November 1 and Reynolds indicated that details of the alternative plans will be released before then so Iowans can decide what best suits their needs for 2019.

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