OPINION

Iowa last for health insurance enrollment in 2014

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Story City Residents Have Limited Time to Enroll for 2015 Coverage

According to Health and Human Services (HHS), Iowa was 51st among all states and the District of Columbia in terms of percentage of subsidy-eligible residents who claimed subsidies and enrolled in health insurance through the new Marketplaces in 2014.

The Affordable Care Act created subsidies to help pay health insurance premiums for Americans whose income is within 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Rich Olive of ACT Insurance Agency in Story City explains further. “For example, if a family of four makes less than $95,400 per year, they may qualify for a health insurance subsidy to bring their premium down.” The recently released HHS data indicates, however, that Iowans did not take advantage of those subsidies or simply were not informed about the new health insurance options available.

“The way we all purchase health insurance has changed a great deal with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and like anything, change is difficult to get used to,” said Olive.

Another change brought on by the Affordable Care Act is that individuals who want health insurance without a special event must purchase during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This year, the OEP runs between November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2015. The time period is even more compressed if you want or need health insurance coverage by January 1, 2015.

“In order to secure coverage for January 1, individuals must sign up by December 15, 2014,” further explained Olive. “Technically, a person only has 30 days to find the right insurance and be covered for January 1.”

Individuals who want to learn if they are eligible for a subsidy and learn more about their options can seek out an insurance agent who is certified by the Marketplace.

The Individual Open Enrollment Period is open now through February 15 and individuals can call their local health insurance agency for free assistance.