HealthPartners UnityPoint Health to provide small-business health insurance plans

Company to sell plans in Iowa’s major metro areas for coverage starting in 2022

Dr. Todd Ajax (right) tests a patient during an appointment at Washington County Hospital and Clinics in Washington in 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

HealthPartners UnityPoint Health will offer insurance plans for small businesses, further expanding its reach into the employer-based market.

The West Des Moines-based company said Monday it will begin offering health insurance plans to businesses and organizations with fewer than 50 employees for coverage starting in 2022.

These plans will only be available in 38 counties statewide that include Iowa’s biggest metro areas, such as Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Waterloo.

These areas are also home to 80 percent of Iowans who enroll for insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act marketplace, HealthPartners UnityPoint Health President Becky Woody said.

“For businesses and organizations that rely on small, agile teams, health and well-being is paramount because it impacts job satisfaction, engagement, performance and the bottom line,” Woody said.

“We’re aiming to help these organizations improve the health and well-being of their teams through our high value health plans.”

The rates for the 27 health plans HealthPartners UnityPoint Health will offer on the small employer market will be announced in October. All plans will have access to the company’s network of care providers, “which spans the state of Iowa,” according to officials.

HealthPartners UnityPoint Health currently covers more than 60,000 individuals through commercial or Medicare insurance statewide, officials said.

The insurance company was launched in 2016 and offered its first Medicare Advantage insurance products beginning in 2017.

It was created through a partnership with Iowa’s UnityPoint Health network and Minnesota-based health care provider and insurance company, HealthPartners.

The company already provides health insurance to businesses with fewer than 50 employees in Minnesota, Woody said.

The move into the small employer market in Iowa is a “natural progression” for the company, which has expanded into other parts of the market since it first launched, Woody said.

“Each year, we evaluate in Iowa where the market could continue to expand,” she said.

Woody did not disclose whether there were plans to expand into other areas of the health insurance market in Iowa, but said officials will evaluate the success of the small-group market as it goes into effect next year.

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