2021 Affordable Health Insurance Plans in Iowa

If you’re looking to sign up for health insurance in Iowa and you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! There are various ways to buy health insurance depending on your needs. The Affordable Care Act (also commonly called Obamacare) ensures a certain level of coverage that can be bought in the health insurance marketplace. However, other options and benefits are available depending on your financial and family situation as well as where you live. Also important to note – the window to sign up for ACA insurance typically ends in December, however, due to COVID-19, the government has extended the enrollment window through August 15th, 2021 meaning it’s not too late to enroll for this year. Note that if you happen to lose your job and need a new health plan or are applying for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) you can enroll at any time. 

Highlights and Updates

  • Iowa has a federally facilitated marketplace. Residents enroll through Healthcare.gov.
  • The 2021 Benefits Open Enrollment period has been extended through August 15, due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
  • Iowa short-term health insurance is available from 1 to 12 months.
  • Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc offers the cheapest health insurance in Iowa
  • A parent cannot only insure their child. A whole family must be covered. Affordable health insurance for low-income families is available through Medicaid.  
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How to buy health insurance in Iowa

If you want to buy health insurance in Iowa, you can use the health insurance marketplace. This will give you access to Affordable Care Act plans that meet government requirements. Simply enter your zip code along with some personal/family data and you should be able to get a good estimate of what you’ll need to pay. Also, if you have pre-existing conditions, don’t worry. You don’t have to do a doctor’s exam and you can’t be denied coverage. 


How to apply for Health Insurance in Iowa

In the old days, you used to have to run a battery of tests to apply for health insurance, meaning that pre-existing conditions could often result in higher premiums or being excluded from plans. If you’re signing up through the Health Insurance Marketplace, all you need to do is make an account, fill in your relevant family data and financial status, and you should be able to enrol in the plan you choose. 


Health Insurance Carriers in Iowa

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. With the Affordable Care Act, you still need to do a little digging as you’re still faced with loads of potential insurers to choose from. That’s where we come in!


What are the cheapest health insurance companies in Iowa?

According to a quick search on the Iowa Health Insurance Marketplace, the cheapest company tends to be Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc, an independent licensee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. 


How has Obamacare helped Iowa’s uninsured?

Obamacare has helped over 20 million Americans who didn’t previously have insurance get coverage. It’s been called one of the largest expansions of health coverage in U.S history, both through the use of programs like Medicaid and health insurance marketplaces for private coverage. 


Most notable perhaps is the fact that people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be shut out or expected to pay higher premiums. Companies also can’t put annual and lifetime limits on health plans, nor can higher-cost patients with serious conditions be excluded from essential benefits. 


Iowa Health Insurance Costs Overview

How much does Health Insurance cost in Iowa?

Health Insurance costs in Iowa vary greatly. An average forty-year-old can expect to pay anywhere from $300—500+ a month in premiums – it varies by age. If you’re younger, you’ll pay less. If you’re older – you’ll likely pay more. 

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What is the cheapest health insurance plan in Iowa?

This varies depending on your needs, but the two best value plans are Wellmark Silver Modified HMO or the Oscar Silver Saver, although depending on the tier level you choose, you could pay a lot less. It depends on what you need.


Cheapest Iowa Health Insurance Coverage by Metal Tier

Before choosing your insurance plan, make sure to get yourself up to date on the various metal tiers offered by the insurance companies. There are four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The lower and cheaper the plan, the smaller percentage of your healthcare costs are covered. 


Platinum Plans

This is the highest tier, with companies covering 90% of your costs. If you have significant medical costs, this is likely the plan you want as your expenses will be largely covered even if your monthly premium is higher. The average cost is roughly $732 a month for a forty-year-old person. 

Gold Plans

80% of your health care fees are covered via this plan. The monthly premium is high, but the coverage is excellent. The cheapest plan is Inspire by Medica Gold Copay Plus is the most affordable. The monthly premium is $726.56, the deductible is $1,000, and the out-of-pocket maximum is $5,000.


Silver Plans

The Silver plan, to many, is the best of both worlds as it’s a nice balance between the higher coverage of the Platinum and Gold tiers, with a lower premium per month. The Inspire by Medica Silver Copay is the cheapest option in this tier, with a monthly premium of $653.28. The deductible is $3,500, and the out-of-pocket maximum is $7,00


Bronze tier

If you’re young and healthy, this is the tier for you. The monthly premiums are reasonable, but the coverage is solid. If you want cheap health insurance in Iowa, the Inspire by Medica Bronze HSA might be the right choice. The monthly premium is $529.95. This plan has a deductible of $6,000 and an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,650.

Health Insurance Costs by Occupation

What is the average cost of health insurance for a student in Iowa?

Typically, student health plans are sponsored by their educational institutions and average out at about $230 a month for long-term coverage.

What is the average cost of health insurance for the self-employed in Iowa?

If you happen to be self-employed or starting a business, you may qualify for cheap health insurance through Medicaid.

What is the average cost of health insurance for small business owners in Iowa?

If you’re a small business owner, it’s best to look into getting a small group plan rather than an individual plan. You can expect to pay a lower monthly premium, which is around $409 a month.

Iowa Health Insurance costs by the number of participants

What is the average cost of health insurance for families in Iowa?

Family plans in Iowa typically start around $1416 for a family of three (two adults, one child). A family of four (two adults, two children) would run around $1742. 

What is the average cost of health insurance for individuals in Iowa?

Average health insurance for a single person typically runs in the $440 range for a silver plan. Lower-tier plans cost much less.

What is the average cost of health insurance for a child in Iowa?

A parent cannot only insure their child and not have themselves covered. Low-cost family coverage is available through Medicaid for those low-income families that qualify.

Other types of Health Insurance Coverage

Catastrophic Health Insurance in Iowa

This plan is only available to people under 30. Inspire by Medica Catastrophic is the cheapest of all the Catastrophic plans in the state. The monthly premium is $392.42, and the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are $7,350. The advantage, of course, is that your essential benefits (prescription drugs, primary care) are still covered. 


Short term Health Insurance in Iowa

Short-term plans lasting between 1 to 12 months are available in Iowa and are perfect for those temporarily without coverage, such as those temporarily unemployed and about to start a new job that has an insurance plan. 

Temporary Health Insurance in Iowa

Temporary and short-term health insurance plans are interchangeable and the plans are flexible enough to cover most needs. 

Low-income health insurance Iowa

If you are trying to get by on a low income, Medicaid is your best bet, with IA Health Link offering additional care to those Iowa residents that qualify. 

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