Senator Says Premiums Delaying Health Expansion

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa senator says federal approval for an expansion of low income health care has been held up due to debate over premiums in the plan.

Des Moines Democrat Jack Hatch says Monday that he has spoken with federal officials about Iowa's application.

Iowa needs a waiver enabling the state to receive more federal Medicaid money for the proposed Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, a new health insurance program which would cover up to 150,000 residents.

Hatch says federal authorities are concerned about the use of premiums. Under the plan, the state would start charging some people small monthly premiums in 2015, though they would be waived if they complete certain health goals.

Republican Gov. Terry Branstad says the Legislature approved the plan and that it will improve health outcomes.

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