|My mother once told me a story from her childhood in the 1930’s about her nine-year-old neighbor who had developed polio. She had to travel to the University of Iowa to get treatment and got there in a state car, which was provided by the UI.One day the state car came down to get her with a rain storm on the horizon. The car was already full with passengers of various ages who needed treatment at the University of Iowa. The family was having a difficult time saying goodbye to their nine-year-old child and, since the family lived on a dirt road, the driver was anxious to get on the road before they got stuck in the mud. This was state-of-the-art medical treatment in the 1930s. Fast forward to 2013 and thousands of Iowans across the state are still receiving even the most basic health care at the University of Iowa. While I’ve always been grateful for the excellent health care and specialists at UI, many Iowans could be receiving care much closer to home.Over the last few years, we’ve been working to fix this problem and starting January 1, more than 150,000 Iowans will have access to affordable health care closer to their home. All Iowans will also benefit from new health insurance protections, which include no lifetime caps, no denials for pre-existing conditions, and coverage for all essential health needs.
Iowans who have individual health insurance plans or run a small business will also have new affordable health care options through Iowa’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Here are some basics on the new health care options that could impact you and your family. If you have:
• No health insurance — Find new affordable care options at www.healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596; tax credits available for some Iowans
• Insurance through your employer — No change required;
• Insurance through Medicare or Medicaid — No change
• An individual health insurance policy — No change required, but new options and tax credits for some Iowans are now available at www.healthcare.gov or 800-318-2596
• Insurance through Iowa Care — All members will receive a letter from the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise; verify your income as requested; some will be enrolled automatically into another plan and others will sign up for health care through www.healthcare.gov or 800-318-2596
• Insurance for your kids through Hawk-I — No change
• Insurance as a small business owner with 50 or less full-time employees — Can participate in Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and may qualify for assistance. Contact your agent/broker or call 800-706-7915 or go to: www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses
While there is a lot of heated rhetoric these days about health care, here in Iowa we worked together to pass some common sense solutions to our health care problems that will make a difference in the lives of many Iowans.
We’ve created a Quick Guide to Affordable Health Care on our website www.iowahouse.org to help Iowans get more information about the changes ahead. I hope you’ll find it useful and share it with your friends, neighbors, and family.