Writer appreciates Ragan’s proactive nature to health insurance changes

Letter to the Editor: I would like to acknowledge Sen. Ragan for being proactive in addressing local concerns surrounding the confusion about public health insurance changes in Iowa. I appreciate Sen. Ragan's work with the Iowa Legislative Council's Health Policy Oversight Committee and believe that with this experience she brings valuable insight about health care and it's reform to our area of the state.

Iowa has drawn national attention for current changes to public health care coverage. The recent collapse of Iowa’s individual health insurance market has left the state with only one marketplace insurance option, that being Medicaid. The withdrawal of one of the three Managed Care Organizations, AmeriHealth Caritas, further complicates things, as it will displace 215,000 Iowans from their current health insurance. These changes have left many Iowans in a great state of flux.

Sen. Ragan has been dynamic in addressing this uncertainty by hosting town meetings throughout the state including her recent stop by Center One, Hampton, on Nov. 15, 2017, which was highlighted in the Hampton Chronicle. These meetings are designed to look at ways to create jobs and grow the local economy, which will in turn provide more people health care coverage through employers and more resources to purchase health insurance on their own.

The information provided by the Ragan Report Column and submitted to the Hampton Chronicle on Nov. 14, 2017, was valuable. The opinion article titled Health insurance: What Iowans need to know contained highly informative, accurate and up-to-date information, but there has been a new development since the time the article was submitted. This new development greatly impacts those 215,000 people who will be displaced from AmeriHealth Caritas.

The Nov. 14 article indicated that “All AmeriHealth members will be tentatively re-assigned to United Healthcare on Dec. 1, but may choose to change to Amerigroup for any reason through March 1, 2018.”

This information is no longer correct. On Nov. 21 Iowa Department of Human Services announced that Amerigroup, one of the remaining Managed Care Organizations, will continue to offer services to their current Iowa Medicaid members, but they do not have capacity to take any new members. This means that those displaced from AmeriHealth Caritas will no longer have a choice to change and must choose United Healthcare to manage their care. This change is against federal rules that state recipients need to have more than one Medicaid option.

It is important that the public asks questions and voice their concerns by doing as the Ragan Report Column suggested and contacting Iowa Medicaid Member Services at 1-800-338-8366 and/or reaching out to Sen. Ragan. She can be reached at 515-281-3371 or 641-424-0874, or email her at amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.

Sarah Enke,

Clear Lake