What Iowa Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2022

- Obamacare Basics for Iowa - (Basics)
- Obamacare Rates for Polk County - (Rates)
How to Enroll
- Obamacare Enrollment - (How to Enroll)
Financial Help
- Obamacare Financial Assistance - (Financial Help)
Life Situations
- Obamacare for Different Life Situations - (Life Situations)
- Using Your Obamacare Health Insurance Plan - (Using Your Plan)
- Obamacare News - (News)



Affordable Care Act Facts 2022

What Iowa Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2022

Essential facts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) in Iowa, including whether you must get health insurance, how much it will cost, and how you can save money.


How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Iowa
Do I Have to Get Health Insurance in Iowa?

Updated: 2021-10-04 by

Iowa open enrollment for 2022 plans runs from November 1, 2021 until January 15, 2022.

This website provides information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including new benefits available under The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and other essentials such as:

To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in Iowa:

1. Open enrollment for 2022 health insurance plans runs from Monday, November 1, 2021 to Friday, January 15, 2022.

In Iowa, you can sign up for 2022 health coverage from November 1, 2021 to January 15, 2022. This open enrollment period is one month longer than in recent years, allowing people more time to sign up. If you enroll by December 15, your coverage will begin on January 1, 2022.

If you are currently uninsured, you can use Healthcare.gov to compare plans and enroll in a plan that meets your needs. 

If you already have health insurance, you will be automatically re-enrolled in your existing plan if it is still available. Even if your plan will continue, open enrollment is an excellent time to review your coverage, compare plans, and switch to a new one if you find a better option.

To learn more about enrollment, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Iowa.

2. You may still qualify for 2021 coverage and financial assistance under some circumstances.

Enrollment for 2021 health coverage has ended, but you can get covered for the rest of the year if you qualify for a special enrollment period, including job or income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What's more, if you received unemployment benefits for at least one week in 2021, the American Rescue Plan guarantees that you can receive a mid-level silver plan for 2021 at no cost to you. You can apply for this benefit through the end of 2021 when you purchase an insurance plan through Healthcare.gov. Be prepared to prove that you are receiving or have received unemployment compensation this year. If you get a job, your eligibility will change.

3. You probably qualify for new Affordable Care Act subsidies.

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The law provides $1.9 trillion of federal aid to Americans struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. The relief measures include additional premium subsidies for those who purchase health insurance through Healthcare.gov. Here's a quick summary of the types of available subsidies.

Federal tax credits. Under ARPA, no one will have to pay more than 8.5% of their household income for a mid-level plan purchased from Healthcare.gov. Technically, the subsidies are tax credits, but you can choose to have them automatically deducted from the cost of your monthly premiums. These increased subsidies will be available only through the end of 2022 unless Congress enacts legislation to extend them. (If they revert to the previous level, subsidies will be available only to those with household income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For example, the cutoff for a family of four in Iowa would be $104,800. For an individual, it would be $51,040.)

Cost-sharing subsidies. More than half of the people who purchase coverage through Healthcare.gov receive assistance in the form of cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). CSRs automatically reduce your premiums and lower your costs when you use your insurance benefits—for example, when you go to the doctor, get lab work, or have to stay in the hospital.

CSRs are available to people who make between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level. (For 2022 health plans, that means a family of four in Iowa can't earn more than $65,500 and an individual not more than $25,520.) But these benefits are available only on silver plans. If you think you may qualify, look carefully at costs for the silver plans available at Healthcare.gov while shopping for coverage.

Medicaid. You may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Iowa if your income is very low.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Iowa.

4. You won't face a tax penalty for going without health insurance in 2022—but there are significant downsides to being uninsured.

Obamacare's tax penalty went away in 2019. That means that if you don't have health insurance, you won't have to pay a penalty when you file your federal income taxes. That said, think hard about whether it makes sense to forego health insurance. A medical crisis could knock the financial wind from your sails and do more damage than the penalty would. (A study published in 2019 showed that a lapse in health insurance coverage can double a person's chances of ending up in bankruptcy.)

5. Try to avoid short-term insurance plans that don't comply with the ACA.

In 2018, the Trump administration made it easier to purchase "short-term insurance plans." Short-term plans don't have to cover preexisting conditions or the essential health benefits provided by Obamacare plans. In the past, short-term plans were allowed to last only three months but under new rules, you can purchase a non-ACA compliant "short term" plan that lasts as long as three years.

If you're genuinely caught without health insurance and need it for a few months to cover a new health condition, you might want to consider a true short-term plan to get you through to the next open enrollment period. Otherwise, be careful of plans that don't meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and shop around to look for coverage that genuinely meets your needs.

Remember, if your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Iowa.

6. You can get help signing up if you need it.

The Biden administration is greatly increasing enrollment assistance plans, making it much easier to get the information you need to get covered. To connect with local support resources, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Iowa.


How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Iowa
Do I Have to Get Health Insurance in Iowa?

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