Insurance

Best Ways To Get Affordable Health Insurance In Iowa

Iowa, “the beautiful land”  is ranked the number 1 state to thrive in the US. And thriving there also includes having booming health.

However, the cost of health insurance has continued to skyrocket in the US, some reasons being that the costs of drugs have continued to rise and doctors and nurses are paid more. And this makes ensuring health all the more important.

The primary objective of health care insurance is to protect your health and finances from great losses. In Iowa, otherwise known as the Hawkeye State, there are a number of ways to get affordable health insurance.

You can either use the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace, buy from an insurance agent or broker, buy directly from an insurer or buy through a membership organization.

Aside from the rising costs of drugs and increased payments of nurses and doctors, there are other factors that determine how much you pay for your health care insurance in Iowa. These factors can either lower your premiums or significantly raise them. Some of the factors are stated below:

Age

Age is an important factor that determines the rates you pay on healthcare insurance. Health insurance providers use the rule of thumb when it comes to age: the older you get, the higher your premium.

Older people are more likely to fall sick and that’s why premiums for them are more expensive. That is why we recommend that youngsters purchase health insurance policies that will give them comprehensive coverage at an affordable price.

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Geographical location

Some areas are rated higher for health insurance because of a lack of healthy food options, and health and climate issues. Areas that have better and healthier living conditions are charged less.

Past medical history

Your past medical history plays an important role in determining your premium rates. If you have a pre-existing disease or have been suffering from chronic illnesses, your premiums are likely to be higher and people who have had little or no impediments to their health would be charged lesser.

Occupation

Your place of work also plays an important role in the amount you pay for healthcare insurance. If you work at places like a building site, you stand at a higher risk of being injured and so your premiums would be high.

But individuals who work in environments where they are exposed to little or no risk tend to pay less on health insurance.

Body Mass Index

Your body mass index is a measure of your body’s weight to height. BMI is usually used to calculate a person’s body fat and determine if a person is of a healthy weight.

Having a high body mass index exposes an individual to numerous health complications. Some of them include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer, depression, and other related mental diseases.

This is why health providers charge them higher because they are considered to be at high risk. Being able to maintain a healthy BMI not only cuts your costs on health insurance premiums but also improves your health.

Tobacco Use/Smoking Habit

Smoking is injurious to health and as the Federal Ministry of Health would say “smokers are liable to die young”.

Smoking increases your chances of contracting deadly diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer and it also increases the risk of having tuberculosis. For these reasons, smokers are charged higher for insurance.

The type of Policy You Buy

Different policies have different premium costs. Individual policies cost less than group or family policies.

Other factors include marital status, coinsurance features, and policy duration.

Private Health Insurance On Iowa’s Exchange

Many residents in Iowa get their health insurance coverage from their employer and some get theirs from government-provided programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

But if you do not qualify for the government programs or you are not covered by an employer, you can still purchase health insurance from Iowa’s Marketplace.

Health insurance providers in the State of Iowa use a metal tier system to categorize the plans available. This system has four metal tiers that include Gold, Silver, Expanded bronze, and Catastrophic tiers. This tier system splits the medical costs between a policyholder and the insurer.

The less valuable metal tiers offer the cheapest policies but come with high out-of-pocket expenses while the more valuable metal tiers come with less out-of-pocket expenses but higher costs of premiums.

While the lower tiers might be appealing to buy in order to save on costs, they come with higher deductibles and coinsurance which could drain your savings in the event of any serious medical emergency.

Metal tier plans with higher or more expensive premiums come with fewer deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. This is cost-effective for individuals who need regular medical care and expect high medical costs.

Catastrophic 

This plan offers the lowest premiums and the highest out-of-pocket costs.  It is not available to everyone; only people under the age of 30 or who have hardship exemption are qualified for this plan.

Although it is the cheapest, it does not provide the most value for people who qualify for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. This plan covers up to 60% of your total medical costs while you pay 40%.

Expanded Bronze

The Expanded Bronze tier is also a very affordable and available option for anyone in the marketplace. It has low premiums although not as low as Catastrophic plans, and high deductibles.

This plan covers up to 65% of your medical costs while you pay 35%. The expanded bronze plan requires the coverage of at least one major medical service before the deductible is met.

Silver

This offers the most balance between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. It is advised to start from the silver plans when shopping for health insurance.

Silver plans also provide the most opportunity to save, as those who qualify for cost-sharing reductions or premium tax credits can get the most out of this plan. With silver plans, you pay 30% of your medical costs while your insurer pays 70%.

Gold

These plans are the most expensive option in the state. They have the highest premiums but also the lowest out-of-pocket expenses.

This plan is best for individuals who see the doctor often or have prescriptions that are expensive and as a result, expect high medical costs. The Gold plans cover up to 80-90% of your medical costs.

 The following are the average cost of health insurance in Iowa for each metal tier for a sample profile of a 40-year-old:

  • Catastrophic: $298 per month
  • Expanded Bronze: $405 per month
  • Silver: $528 per month
  • Gold: $523 per month

Most Affordable Health Insurance In Iowa

Below are some of the most affordable health care providers offering the best rates in Iowa:

Medica

Medica has a large network of health service providers. It has over 8,290 doctors, 55 clinics, and 133 hospitals in its network, Nebraska and some parts of bordering states.

All counties in Iowa have the PPO Medica insurance plan and individual counties like the Council Bluffs Metro area may have some other plans of low cost.

Medica also offers nationwide coverage wherever you are, whenever you travel. 

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

In Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has a network that covers 99% of doctors and 100% of the hospitals.

The company offers free preventive care services like mammograms, well-child visits, and annual exams. Most drugs you would need are covered through the Blue Simplicity RX coverage and it also offers nationwide coverage.

Iowa Farm Bureau Foundation

The IFBF partners with Wellmark to offer 3 HMO plans, with one being an HDHP with HSA. For you to be eligible, you must enroll in the foundation which costs $55 or less, depending on where you live.

For individuals who are self-employed, uninsured, or on short-term plans, IFBF is a great option. They offer benefits like free preventive care and virtual doctor visits.

UnitedHealthcare

For individuals who recently moved to the state or are between jobs or missed the open enrollment and did not qualify for special enrollment, UnitedHealthcare is a good option.

The company provides fast and flexible services for people making a life transition. It also has nationwide coverage in case you travel and this saves you from paying extra expenses for healthcare services.

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