Iowa’s insurance commissioner says he needs a commitment from a national insurer before he can release pricing information on policies to be sold on the state’s new health insurance exchange.
The prices were scheduled to be released next week, but federal officials have delayed until Sept. 16 the deadline for carriers to join Iowa’s exchange, The Des Moines Register reported Commissioner Nick Gerhart said he will release prices by Sept. 17.
Gerhart said he’s awaiting a decision from Coventry on whether it will carry through on its initial plans to offer policies on the new computerized system. But Coventry’s new parent company, Aetna, has withdrawn from exchanges in five other states.
Aetna officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Gerhart said the state’s exchange would offer Coventry a guaranteed pool of business, since thousands of Iowans will need to choose private policies on the exchange instead of Medicaid. He expressed optimism that the company will participate and that Coventry’s chief actuary was enthusiastic.
“Coventry has given us zero indication that they won’t sign,” he said.
Still, Gerhart said he doesn’t want to confuse consumers by releasing price information from Coventry if they in fact drop out.
If the company does so, that would leave Iowans with only one carrier, the new CoOportunity Health. The state’s dominant health insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, won’t participate in the exchange until 2015.
The exchange is part of the federal health overhaul known as the Affordable Care Act. It’s set to open for business on Oct. 1. Federal and state officials are jointly developing Iowa’s exchange.
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