UPDATE: Health insurer Medica seeks 43.5 percent increase in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa's last health care insurer to sell policies to individuals statewide through the federal Affordable Care Act is seeking a 43.5 percent increase in premium rates for next year.

Minnesota-based Medica says the increase is necessary to remain in Iowa.

Company Vice President Geoff Bartsh said Monday that a number of risks remain with its decision to be the lone statewide provider. Medica will re-evaluate the decision in September before contracts to provide coverage in Iowa are signed.

The company insures about 12,500 Iowans through the Affordable Care Act exchange which offers subsidies for those meeting income guidelines and about 1,400 who buy their own insurance off the exchange.

Iowa is seeking a waiver that would allow it to re-purpose federal subsidies to attract younger, healthier individuals into the market.
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A spokesman for health care insurer Medica says it plans to sell insurance in Iowa next year and expects to make an announcement soon.

Medica spokesman Larry Bussey confirmed Monday the company has preliminary plans to remain in Iowa but the company seeks clarity on how the Affordable Care Act exchange market in Iowa is going to function.

Iowa last week applied for a federal waiver to allow federal subsidies designed to lower costs for low-income and older participants to be used to entice younger people to buy insurance in hopes of keeping Medica and perhaps attracting others back to Iowa.

Medica is the only statewide insurer left in Iowa. State insurance officials feared the Minnesota-based company might also leave, causing 72,000 people to have no choice next year.