Half a dozen providers have already applied to be able to offer their plans on the state’s exchange.
Although six health insurance companies have already applied to be able to sell their policies on the Iowa exchange, having made their submissions to do so by the deadline last Sunday.
However, the largest insurer in the state was not among those who opted to participate in the marketplace.
The largest health insurance company in Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, currently has about 2 million policyholders in that state and South Dakota. Though it has opted out of selling during the first year, according to the CEO of the insurer, John Forsyth, they do intend to apply to be able to list their policies for the following year, 2015.
The health insurance company has decided to wait and see how the exchange functions before joining.
According to Forsyth in a phone interview, “This really isn’t a financial decision not to participate.” He explained that the company had concerns regarding the lack of information that was being provided about the exchange in the state, and the way it would be rolled out. He felt that the information in these areas was too slim, and that it was better to wait to become more informed.
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Forsyth also added that “It wasn’t the state’s fault; they provided information as soon as they had it.” He said that his health insurance company was already feeling skeptical that the federal government would be able to implement its part of the exchanges in a smooth way. Therefore, it felt that it would be better to wait for the next year, after any potential issues could be ironed out, and to allow the insurer to know just what it would be getting itself into.
Iowa is one of the states that has partnered with the federal government in order to create the required health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Six other states have also chosen this model for the creation of the online marketplace. According to Kaiser Family Foundation senior fellow, Karen Pollitz, as Iowa now has six companies participating in the state, and two that are offering nationwide, the state is “right in the middle of the pack, although we don’t have the entire pack yet.”