Health Policy

Wright Presents on Iowa Insurance Market at Brookings Event

Screenshot of Wright speaking at conference

Brad Wright, Associate Professor, Department of Health Management and Policy at the UI College of Public Health, and Researcher in the PPC Health Policy Research Program, represented Iowa in a panel discussion about the individual health insurance marketplace. 

The panel discussion took place on Friday, July 13, at a conference hosted by the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. The conference focused on strategies for stabilizing the individual health insurance market. 

Wright summarized the failure of Iowa’s insurance marketplace and attributed it to the following: insurers are hesitant to serve rural states because of the difficulty in negotiating reimbursement rates; an underinvestment in outreach and enrollment efforts resulted in enrollment of eligible individuals being the lowest in the country (20%); and a high number of individuals (50-60%) enrolled in other, non-compliant transitional plans. Most of the transitional plans are provided by Wellmark, which did not participate in the marketplace until 2017, and then dropped out again in 2018.

Wright went on to talk about what transpired with the marketplace, with all of the providers dropping out and threatening to leave no providers. Medica stepped in to provide insurance, but increased premiums 57%. Iowa pursued a 1332 waiver, which would have offered only one plan on a premium credit model. The application was eventually withdrawn, due to federal dollars being unavailable under this model.

To view his presentation (07:14 – 18:01), click here.

Related content: Stabilizing and Strengthening the Individual Health Insurance Market