Affordable Care Act: Marketplace offers more health care options

When it comes to health insurance, employees who don't currently qualify for Iowa State health benefits may soon have more options.

A key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Insurance Marketplace (often called the "exchange"), begins open enrollment on Oct. 1 for coverage that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Individuals may consider options for health insurance through the marketplace, even if they already are covered by an employer's existing plan. But it may not make sense to do so.

"Iowa State employees have access to affordable health care plans that exceed plans offered through the exchanges," said Jane Walter, human resources specialist.

However, some Iowa State employees who work less than 20 hours a week (or are on a short-term appointment) and are not eligible for the university's health plan may want to consider the marketplace option.

In addition, some individuals may qualify for lower monthly premiums through the marketplace, but only if they meet certain household income requirements, their employer offers no health care coverage, or that coverage doesn't meet certain requirements. Iowa State's health care plans meet all requirements, including essential benefits.

General information about the marketplace and the details about Iowa State's health care coverage is available online (PDF). Individuals who wish to purchase health care coverage through the marketplace must use the information from Part B of the online document. Employees also are encouraged to review Iowa State's certificates of coverage (click on your employee classification, then choose "Medical plan").

For more information about the marketplace and to apply for coverage, go to