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Iowa: Nearly 120,000 signed up for Medicaid expansion program

Iowa: Nearly 120,000 signed up for Medicaid expansion program


The state of Iowa said Wednesday that it is well on its way to meeting the goal of enrolling 150,000 Iowans in its version of an expanded Medicaid program.

Nearly 120,000 residents of the state had signed up for the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan as of Monday, the Iowa Department of Human Services announced.

"Iowa is well on track to meet its estimate of 150,000 Iowans enrolled in the program after three years," Department of Human Services director Charles Palmer, said in a statement. "This bipartisan plan is providing quality care with local access for many Iowans who previously had limited or no coverage."

This is the second year for the plan, which was the result of a compromise between Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative Democrats.

One of the main provisions in the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was to expand Medicaid, something many Republican governors resisted. That included Branstad, but he and the Legislature reached an agreement to create the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. The Obama administration signed off on the compromise.

The state said Wednesday that nearly 90,000 had signed up for the Iowa Wellness Plan, which is an expansion of Medicaid and insures people at or below the poverty line.

About another 29,000 signed up for the Iowa Marketplace Choice Plan, an option that gives people who make up to 133 percent of poverty coverage through a private insurer. Premiums are paid for with Medicaid dollars.

The state also said that 27,000 wellness exams had been completed and 21,600 health risk assessments done. The risk assessments are part of the state's plan, and officials say they will help limit long-term costs.


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