Gov. Terry Branstad this morning unveiled an outline of the “Healthy Iowa Plan,” a proposal for covering Iowans who do not currently have health insurance. In a press release, Branstad said the proposal is “designed to help those who use it become healthier while being sustainable for the long-term.”
The governor, who opposes expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, said his proposal will cover all of the approximately 89,000 uninsured Iowans earning below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
The federal government is offering to fully pay for the first three years of expanded Medicaid coverage for states that take that option, and 90 percent of the cost after that. Branstad, however, has said he’s afraid the deficit-strapped U.S. government won’t be able to keep that promise and said the state can do better devising its own plan.
“The Healthy Iowa Plan is a modern health plan that will pay providers to care for their whole population and based on the quality of care they deliver, while rewarding positive health outcomes,” Branstad said in a release. “Under our Healthy Iowa Plan, more Iowans will be served by the private insurance market, with access to affordable plans available through health benefits exchanges.”
Under the plan, participants would be required to make monthly contributions to their accounts. According to a fact sheet, the state will match those contributions to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses.
Individuals can earn bonus contributions to their accounts through participation in the Healthy Behaviors Program, a program where members complete health risk assessments, annual physicals and certain preventative services.
Contributions for the neediest individuals could be eliminated through their participation in the Healthy Behaviors Program, the fact sheet said. Details of how much an individual would pay or receive as bonuses were not immediately available.
The proposal fits within the governor’s two-year and five-year budget projections, with a total funding pool of $162 million. New funding for the plan comes through Medicaid savings created by “synchronizing traditional Medicaid eligibility with benefits available through the Affordable Care Act. The savings is redirected to covering uninsured Iowans at or below the poverty level."
The Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate is currently considering legislation to proceed with expanding the state’s Medicaid program.