Iowa to become 17th state with its own health insurance marketplace

0 | Health Reform, Insurance, Other States

— Iowa has reached agreement with the federal government to transition to a state-based health insurance marketplace by 2016, officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today.

Currently Iowa is one of 36 states relying on the federal government to provide its residents with the online marketplace for comparing and purchasing insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act. The federal marketplace — HealthCare.gov — has been mired in technical problems, while some state-based marketplaces have fared much better.

The transition would make Iowa the 17th state to run its own marketplace.

Two years ago, Gov. Sam Brownback rejected a $31.5 million federal grant to set up a health insurance marketplace tailored for Kansas — defaulting instead to the federally run marketplace, which launched Oct. 1

Should Kansas also decide to run its own insurance marketplace — which for now seems unlikely given the opposition to Obamacare among the state’s Republican leaders — it could have the option of implementing proven software, such as that used in Colorado's state-run marketplace.

More than 700 people have enrolled in insurance plans in the first three weeks of the Colorado marketplace, according to officials there. And more than 30,000 people have created accounts on the website allowing them to compare plan options and see if they qualify for tax subsidies.

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