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OnlineNavigator insurance enrollment supportNeed help?

We make it easy to get friendly, personal and help with health care reform questions through two fast support options:

Email support:
Email support is available 24/7 usually with same day response. Address your message to

Telephone support:
Schedule telephone support with a call back at your convenience.

OnlineNavigator support is an independent service offered by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA MT subject to the adviser's schedule availability. This support is not intended to replace the services offered and available through other channels by your insurance company, insurance agents and health insurance navigators. Specifically, this service does not replace  online pricing and enrollment functions, billing, claims or administrative services and does not assist with Medicare or Medicaid plans.

See the OnlineNavigator web site for details on privacy policy and terms of service. 

Covering the Gaps in Obamacare

AUIC Deductible Supplement Insurance - three defined dollar benefit levels to add protection for unexpected hospital bills and other medical expenses left uncovered by primary insurance
AUIC Qualified Health Plan Supplement Insurance - no need to fear the out-of-pocket cost of doctor visits, hospital charges and other expenses left by primary medical coverage.
Health plans for diabetics - a listing of the health plan options and other resources
Core Health Insurance - the nation's most popular defined benefit health plans with guaranteed acceptance from US Fire Insurance Company
Value 24 Hour Accident - up to $10,000 of supplemental health insurance coverage for emergency treatment of injuries at a cost of about $2 per day. Can be used as a stand-alone coverage or added to other insurance.

Most Affordable Supplemental Coverage

Value Med Insurance - 3 question simple medical eligibility and immediate approval for supplemental doctor and hospital benefits

Primary Individual Major Medical Through a Private Exchange

Members Health Insurance Exchange allows you to price and choose from among many of the nations leading major medical health insurance options from a wide range of carriers. Personal help is available through OnlineNavigator to help with your selection.

Dental and Vision Insurance

Core Dental Insurance - preventive, basic, and major dental expenses with the dentist of your choice. Shortest waiting period.
Secure DentalOne - one lifetime deductible of $100 and then up to $1,250 per year coverage
Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance - no deductible option, use any dentist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, physician or audiologist, no networks!

Online Life Insurance

International Term Life - up to $2 million coverage issued by Lloyds online specifically for those who spend time outside of the US.

Critical Illness and Cancer Insurance

Consumers Direct Critical Illness Insurance - Secure UpgradeSM $10,000 lump sum supplemental coverage for cancer, stroke or health disease for as little as $25 per month.

Iowa health insurance news

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT     last updated: February 21, 2016

The two top priorities among individuals and small business who pay for their own health coverage is to find more affordable primary insurance and cover rapidly rising out-of-pocket medical costs taht are not paid by primary health insurance.

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Iowa had 27 commercial life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state and 28 companies that issued small group insurance as well as a state-sponsored pre-existing condition insurance plan for residents who have been denied coverage for a pre-existing medical condition. These policies are no longer available.

Since the passage of federal health insurance reform law, individuals and small businesses with less than 50 employees in Iowa can now purchase health insurance through any of several insurance exchanges. Qualified coverage is available from Avera Health Plans, Celtic Insurance, CoOportunity Health, Coventry Health, Gundersen Health, Time Insurance, Wellmark Health Plans of Iowa and Wellmark Inc. Beginning in 2014, Iowa ran an online insurance exchange for individuals and businesses in partnership with the federal government. That exchange focuses on the specific type of insurance defined by federal law.

Non-insurance options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can be added as effective cost-control tools; ask your adviser for more information.

This Web page lists some of the most popular low cost supplemental health insurance plans and related benefits. Freedom Benefits offers personal assistance with any insurance exchange or health reform issue through

The state insurance exchange is now open for coverage starting January 2016. Individuals without insurance right now can enroll in temporary coverage short term medical insurance until January 1. Covered health benefits under insurance purchased through the exchange in 2016 will be different than those offered though any 2015 health plans. The insurance plan that sets the benchmark for qualified coverage through the exchange is listed here and a list of state-mandated benefits can be found here.

Commercial insurance exchanges may also list less expensive insurance without the essential health benefits.

low cost health insurance

Iowa insurance and benefit pricing

Iowa had the 2nd lowest health insurance costs of all states in 2008 with an average family premium of $10,947 per year. (The average annual premium for a U.S. family covered under an employer-sponsored health plan in 2008 was $12,298 according to The Commonwealth Fund report. The overall quality of health care ranked 2nd out of the 51 states (including DC).
The state ranked #30 in physical wellbeing (having good health and enough energy to get things done daily) according to a 2015 Gallup Healthways survey.
Iowa regulates the benefits required for both individual major medical and group health insurance plans, known as "mandated benefits".

Short Term Insurance

Markel Smart STM - popular and affordable short term major medical insurance with fast online approval
Secure STM - along with its 12 month and 36 month options, this may be the highest quality short term coverage
Secure Lite STM - the lowest priced major medical insurance for 1 to 12 months
Secure Saver STM - $2 million maximum coverage for 1-12 months at an ultra-low rate

Immigrant Insurance

Inbound Immigrant - up to five years of liberal health insurance coverage after immigration including maternity coverage, emergency and other essential benefits

Supplemental Accident Insurance

Consumers Direct Accident Medical - Protection UpgradeSM supplemental coverage for as little as $20 per month.
Smart Accident Insurance - supplemental coverage for emergency treatment of accidents and injuries for as little as $20 per month. Can be used as a stand-alone accident plan or to increase other insurance benefits.
low cost health insurance

Iowa insurance law and regulation

The Iowa Department of Insurance Web site contains little information about specific health plans. The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (515) 281-5705 or by mail at 330 Maple Street, Des Moines, IA 50319. The state children's health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Iowa hawk-i.

Small business plans

Freedom Benefits offers professional help with setup of self-administered Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Premium Reimbursement Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and insurance at a low price than any small business can afford.

Non-insurance Discount Plans

Careington PPO Discount Plans - the nation's leading network PPO discount provider allows a no-risk trial of any discount plan for only a $20 processing fee
Drug Card America - a free prescription drug card that an be used nationwide
Essential Dental Solutions - simple, inexpensive, no waiting period, up to $500 treatment per year
Rx Pay Card - $10, $20, or $30 payments for hundreds of popular prescriptions.


CallMD - Doctors and nurses literally on call 24/7 to answer questions, help with medical screening and write prescriptions saving you money with the most common types of medical care. $20 per month covers everyone in the household.

International Coverage and Travel Insurance

Iowa Insurance News

9/3/2015 Iowa insurance regulators will shut down CoOportunity Health in January 2016 after receiving $144 million in federal funding. Its 120,000 members in Iowa and Nebraska will be sent to find commercial coverage through the state insurance exchange.

12/6/2014 Iowa SenatorTom Harkin announced that 83 percent of Iowa consumers who selected a Marketplace plan received financial help so that the net cost was less than $100 per month. Rates for 2015 will be 4% higher, on average, but new lower cost choices are also available.

2/11/ 2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Iowa residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

6/26/2012 A new law HE 2465 regulating health insurance navigators becomes effective July 1, 2012 but actual enforcement is anticipated to occur at a later date. The specific regulatory requirements for licensing navigators in Iowa under the new law are currently being reviewed by the Department of Insurance in light of the ACA provisions. More information will be posted on when available.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 Wellmark, UnitedHealthcare and Medical Associates Health Care are the state's largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

8/19/2011 The Iowa Department of Public Health received a federal grant of $681,773 to help uninsured teens enroll in Medicaid or CHIP.

7/10/2011  The U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight announced that Iowa lacks proper resources or authority in the small-group market to effectively review large rate increases as required by federal law. The federal government will temporarily take over the task of reviewing small business health insurance rate increases that are more than 10%.

7/1/2011 The Iowa Open Enrollment Program for eligible children is available from July 1 until August 14, 2011. This state program is the result of federal health reform law enacted in 2010 that makes all children eligible for health insurance coverage. The 45 day open enrollment period is designed to ensure that parents enroll children on a permanent basis rather than only when medical care is required.

 Participating insurance companies include: American Republic Insurance Company, Assurant Health, Celtic Insurance, Coventry Health, Golden Rule Insurance Company, Reserve National Insurance Company, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and World Insurance. OnlineAdviser provides enrollment support for Celtic Insurance through and Golden Rule Insurance through .  Specific details on eligibility, rates and enrollment procedures for the Iowa Open Enrollment Program are available directly from each insurance carrier. Due to the complex eligibility rules, additional application requirements and subtle distinctions in coverage under this program, we suggest that parents should speak with an insurance enrollment adviser to avoid obstacles and maximize the likelihood of approval.

OnlineAdviserTM Tony Novak reminds parents that an application for health insurance coverage may be made at any time without a qualifying event when the application includes a parent. A family-type application is not guaranteed acceptance so the applicants must meet regular health underwriting requirements when applying outside of the Iowa open enrollment program.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called "Help Me Choose" lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

1/12/2011 Wellpoint Blue Cross Blue Shield rates will rise between 7.5% to 15% this year, according to the results of a new rate review process designed to detect and eliminate unwarranted price hikes. For individual consumers, the state and its' outside actuary found that the 15% increase was warranted based on an increase in expected claims. More coverage on the Universal Health Insurance Blog.

12/28/2010 The state-run pre-existing condition insurance plan attracted only 56 Iowa residents this year despite the government-subsidized premium. This plan provides a health coverage option for consumers who have been uninsured for at least six months, have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of their health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing here legally. The federal government pays most of the premium cost. The plan was initially criticized for excessive taxpayer costs but the overall lack of public interest in this insurance was not anticipated.

12/16/2010 Iowa Department of Health officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, the Iowa Department of Health said that it would: 1) Establish an Interagency Planning Workgroup to ensure collaboration between the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Human Services (State Medicaid Agency), Iowa Insurance Division and the Iowa Department of Revenue 2) Create final recommendations, to include: a) Organizational structure for an insurance Exchange, c) Shared vision, d) Implementation plan that will include policy recommendations and core capabilities, e) Blueprint for outreach efforts, f) Sustainability plan that will address critical risk factors that will need to be managed, 3) Develop a comprehensive plan for implementation of an insurance Exchange in Iowa, 4) Further develop the planning process and expand stakeholder input, 5) Assess insurance Exchange options, 6) Coordinate planning efforts with existing State and federal programs to ensure integration with an insurance Exchange, 7) Assess the capacity and infrastructure required for implementation of an insurance Exchange in Iowa, 8) Determine administrative resource needs for implementation of an insurance Exchange, 9) Assess infrastructure and regulatory needs, and 10) Identify transition steps for implementation and sustainability based on recommendation of insurance Exchange structure.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Iowa is now available at Freedom Benefits.

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This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.