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HHS secretary says Iowans will be pleased with PPACA

Posted On Tue, March 26, 2013

With Iowa officially among the states that will launch an insurance exchange marketplace when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January 2014, U.S. Department of Human Health and Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently hailed the announcement, indicating that it will help Iowans save money.

"I applaud efforts by Iowa to build a new health insurance marketplace," said Sebelius. "Working together, we will be ready in seven months when residents of Iowa will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans."

When the PPACA was first passed and signed into law just over three years ago, the health reform law mandated that states either set up the insurance exchange marketplaces themselves or allow the federal government to do so. The Iowa Department of Commerce's Insurance Division indicates that the state's insurance marketplace will be primarily operated by federal officials but the state will retain "important state function" as it relates to plan management.

"We and other agencies, especially the Department of Human Services, have been working on this for some time, in anticipation of this approval, so we are pleased to see it arrive," said Nick Gerhart, Iowa's insurance commissioner. "There is a lot to do, but the implementation process is receiving our full attention as we work to bring the plan in Iowa's Exchange Blueprint Application to reality."

Supporters of the health reform law indicate that the PPACA will end up saving consumers money on health insurance rates. Already, though, HHS notes that seniors have saved as much as $6 billion on prescription drugs. Sebelius noted that thanks to the so-called "donut hole" that was filled as a result of the health reform law - which bridged the gap that was once left to seniors to deal with by paying for pharmaceuticals largely out of pocket - consumers have been able to purchase both generic and brand name medicines more affordably.

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