Capitol Comments by Rep. Curt Hanson
Capitol comments from Rep. Curt Hanson of Fairfield, representing Iowa House District 82, which covers all of Van Buren and Davis counties, and Packwood, Black Hawk, Penn, Locust Grove, Center, Des Moines, Liberty and Cedar townships of 12 in Jefferson County, including the city of Fairfield.
As many know, Southeast Iowa is a hub of business and industry.
I recently attended a Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce Manufacturers Appreciation Luncheon where I heard glowing reports from the many who spoke. Speakers reported banner, or near banner, profits and ongoing or planned expansions.
Speakers also reported the difficulty in finding qualified employees.
In a cooperative effort with our community colleges, business and industry is attempting to fill the shortages of highly trained employable people. We must realize that all things undergo inflation, including education. In my opinion, today’s college diploma is much like yesterday’s high school diploma. Education is the “key” to our employability.
As I review the positive economic reports and the state revenue reports, I do believe the economic tide is rising. Business opportunities are improving; however, the tide is not raising all boats.
In this time of greater economic opportunity, I see a shrinking middle class. If we hope to improve life in rural Iowa, I believe it is necessary to expand our middle class.
Health insurance is a topic at many coffee shops. Recently, Attorney General Tom Miller warned Iowans about scammers who may falsely claim that their health care offerings are affiliated or compliant with the Affordable Care Act.
I have listed below information, phone numbers and websites you may find useful when weighing your new options for affordable health care beginning on Jan. 1.
Here are some basics on how new health care changes and Iowa’s Health Insurance Marketplace could impact you and your family. If you have:
• No health insurance — find new affordable care options at www.healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596. tax credits available for some Iowans.
• Insurance through your employer — no change required. If you have questions go to www.healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596.
• Insurance through Medicare — no change.
• An individual health insurance policy — no change required, but new options and tax credits for some Iowans are now available at www.healthcare.gov or 800-318-2596.
• Insurance through Medicaid — no change.
• Insurance through Iowa Care — all members will receive a letter from the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise; verify your income as requested. Some will be enrolled automatically into another plan and others will sign up for health care through www.healthcare.gov or 800-318-2596.
• Insurance for your kids through Hawk-I — no change.
• Insurance as a small business owner with 50 or fewer full-time employees — you can participate in Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and may qualify for assistance. Contact your agent/broker or call 800-706-7915 or go to: www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses.
All Iowans should be aware that beginning Jan. 1, all health insurance plans have no lifetime limits, must accept all individuals with pre-existing conditions, and cover all essential health benefits.
Iowa small businesses also have new health insurance options. First, no health insurance plan can deny any business owner or employee because of a pre-existing condition. Second, small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees can also find new private health insurance options through the Small Business Health Options Program.
These larger insurance pools for small businesses will keep costs affordable and small businesses with fewer than 25 employees are eligible for tax credits if they help their employees get health care.
Should you have any questions concerning the new healthcare marketplace or any other concerns, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-919-2314.
Hanson serves on the agriculture, education and natural resources committees in the Iowa Legislature. He is a member of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee.