When it comes to getting health insurance, the Iowans who need it most want humans-not a website-to help them decide.
The University of Iowa Public Policy Institute polled Iowans about their healthcare. 80 percent of those polled had insurance through their employer, 10 percent got healthcare through Medicaid, VA and other public healthcare programs, while 5% were uninsured and 5% became uninsured in the past year.
It also finds that those who qualify to get subsidies for their insurance under the Affordable Care Act (those who don't already have employer health insurance plans) are largely younger and in poorer health than those with health insurance from their employers.
82 percent of those polled who qualify say they expect to need help to pick the health insurance coverage from the marketplace choices. But only 24 percent think the healthcare.org website will be sufficient to handle their questions.
David Lyons, CEO of CoOpportunity Health, one of two insurance companies offering healthcare coverage on the Iowa marketplace, says already they're seeing people that are going to insurance agents for help in purchasing insurance. Some of that, Lyons says, is because of the problems with the website. But he's also seeing younger people who are using their parents' insurance agent to navigate the programs to find the right fit.
Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says if there is a flood of people who want individual help it could overwhelm the system set up for support. There are only two organizations-Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Iowa Visiting Nurses Association-which are setup as "navigators" trained in helping Iowans with their purchase.
He says there are others trained to assist in finding healthcare coverage as well.
To read the full U of I study CLICK HERE