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What Iowa Health And Wellness Plan Means

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Thousands of Iowa's poor and poverty stricken adults under IowaCare watched it come down to the wire.

I knew something was gonna take place, I didn't know what at the time, resident Mary Sexton.

The federal government has finally accepted the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, which means changes for people like Sexton, who is currently on IowaCare and being transferred to the new plan

Glad there's something out there to help people that are in need of help, Sexton said.

Before the law, those low income patients under IowaCare in eastern Iowa could only go to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for care.

That ended up causing hardships on a number of individuals that didn't have the money to afford the travel, said Jeffrey Tourdot, an Affordable Care Act Education and Outreach Specialist.

Under the new rules, patients can visit any doctor that participates in the program.

That will be very convenient for me, we also have good doctors here as well, Sexton said.

Experts say it provides a win-win for doctors.

Hospitals that have individuals coming through that were previously uninsured will have the insurance in place so that they also get reimbursed, Tourdot said.

Not all parts of the plan were approved however.

The state wanted to require a premium for those at or under the 100 percent poverty level if they didn't participate in wellness activities.

The federal government rejected that idea, saying the state can only charge those above the 100 percent level if they don't meet those health goals.

Sexton says she's OK with that provision.

As long as it's within reason, I wouldn't have too much problem paying, Sexton said. I like helping myself along the way.

With less than a few weeks before IowaCare was set to run out, she's happy that her healthcare will likely continue, seemingly better than before.

Now it will be up to Governor Branstads office to sign it into law. His office sent out the following statement on Tuesday:

The Branstad Administration has had ongoing communications with U.S. Health and Human Services officials today. The conversations have been productive and Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds are optimistic about a clear path forward including premium contributions promoting healthy behaviors, without loss of coverage, in accordance with Iowa law.  Conversations will continue on details needed for approval of the bi-partisan Iowa Health and Wellness Plan.
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