Only ObamaCare insurer in most Iowa counties to hike premiums by 43.5 percent

Only ObamaCare insurer in most Iowa counties to hike premiums by 43.5 percent
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One of the last insurers on Iowa's ObamaCare exchanges announced Monday it would sell plans in 2018 but proposed an average rate increase of 43.5 percent. 

Medica's decision means every county in Iowa will have at least one insurer on the exchanges next year. 

There were questions about whether Medica would participate next year after two other insurance carriers announced they would not. 

If Medica pulled out, nearly all the counties in Iowa would have had zero insurers on the ObamaCare exchanges in 2018. 

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"When you find yourself as the only ones between people getting access to care and people not getting access to care, your view of the situation becomes very different," Georff Bartsh, Medica's vice president of individual and family business, said in a statement. 

"We've filed with the intent to provide access to insurance for all Iowans, whether they are farmers, small business owners or other individuals who need coverage." 

Because of the uncertainty surrounding ObamaCare, Medica will ask for 43.5 percent increases in its premiums, however. 

"Rate increases of 43 percent are not sustainable long-term," Bartsh said. 

"We know this will impact people who do not currently receive a subsidy particularly hard. The bottom line is that the individual market still needs reform. We will continue to work with federal and state officials to provide the certainty and stability needed for markets to succeed long-term."

Insurers all over the country have asked for double-digit rate increases for next year because the Trump administration has yet to provide clarity on whether it will continue ObamaCare insurer subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions. 

Those subsidies reimburse insurers for giving discounts to low-income customers. 

Insurers are also unsure about whether ObamaCare's individual mandate will be enforced and how the GOP overhaul of ObamaCare will affect them in 2018. 

The federal deadline for insurers to file rates and plans for 2018 is Wednesday.