Nationwide, everyone will be required to have health insurance by 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. But, Iowans will have more options than those living in Nebraska and South Dakota. That's because the Hawkeye State opted in to expand its Medicaid program.
"I think it is an extra benefit for people who live in Iowa. You have that extra flexibility. It does show that we want to make sure everybody is having an affordable health insurance option," Adam Kuiken, of Siouxland Community Health, said.
The plan Adam Kuiken, of the Siouxland Community Health Center, is talking about is the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. In 2013, people can qualify for this in Iowa if their income is between $11,490 and $15,281.
"In my opinion, because Iowa is expanding their Medicaid program, you are going to have people who cannot get health insurance now or can't afford any kind of a policy now, are going to be able to get on Medicaid. Or, depending on where they are in relation to their income and the credits that are available at least get a healthy subsidy to help pay a monthly or annual premium," Financial Strategies of Sioux City Insurance Agent, Thomas Morin, said.
Nebraska and South Dakota opted out of expanding Medicaid.
"Time will tell if Terry Branstad was right by joining it or whether Dave Heinemann was right by excluding it," Morin said.
Although Nebraska and South Dakota aren't expanding this program, they will still be running their standard Medicaid program as before.
But, every American, and those in all Siouxland states, will have the choice to join one of the five plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.
"In various states and situations, you may have some premiums that go up and some premiums that go down," Morin said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says people will have about 40 health plans to choose from on the new marketplace. But, some say the insurance companies may not immediately release all the information until October 1 when open enrollment begins. Every American must be covered by some type of health care by January 1 or face a fee.
Morin also said the system may also be set up to refund those who have a lower income, but don't qualify for medicaid.
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