# Insurance



Iowa expands coverage for breast cancer screening, biomarker testing

Two bills Governor Kim Reynolds signed on May 1 will make advanced testing for breast cancer and other diseases more accessible to Iowans with health insurance coverage.

House File 2489 requires certain types of private health insurance policies to cover supplemental or diagnostic breast examinations such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, or contrast-enhanced mammography. House File 2668 requires public and private health insurance to cover biomarker testing for some cancers and other diseases or conditions. Both bills take effect on January 1, 2025.

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Climate change drives up homeowners' insurance costs

Thunderstorm capable of producing tornadoes approaches grain silos in Iowa. Photo by John Huntington, available via Shutterstock.

Rick Morain is the former publisher and owner of the Jefferson Herald, for which he writes a regular column.

A few weeks ago, our homeowner’s insurance carrier sent me our annual premium notice for the 12-month period beginning April 10, 2024. The valuations of our house, garage, and personal property had climbed almost 7 percent higher than they were for the previous 12-month period. That wasn’t a surprise. In fact, I was somewhat gratified by what the carrier says is the replacement cost of our property now.

But the premium! Ay, there’s the rub. It was more than 50 percent higher than the previous 12-month renewal contract.

How could that be? I had no idea.

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Iowa lawmakers should reject bad bill on appraisals (updated)

James C. Larew is an attorney in Iowa City who served as general counsel and chief of staff for former Governor Chet Culver. House File 2299 cleared the Iowa House unanimously last month and is scheduled to be considered in an Iowa Senate Commerce subcommittee on March 7.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

House File 2299, a bill aimed to deprive Appraisal Panels from determining the causes of insured losses, by amending Iowa’s longstanding, so-called, “standard fire contract,” located at Iowa Code section 515.109, is a fix for something that is not broken. It should not be approved.

Nearly sixty years ago, Iowa lawmakers wisely adopted a successful provision of New York law, which had provided home and business insurance policyholders with a low-cost, efficient means by which they could obtain full indemnification for their insured losses without need, in most cases, to file lawsuits.

More than forty other states have since adopted the New York-based alternative dispute resolution Appraisal process, under which contentious disputes over insurance claim valuations might be resolved.

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Where things stand with Republican bills targeting Iowa workers

Republican attacks on working Iowans have received less attention this year than in 2017, when new laws shredded public employee collective bargaining rights, blocked local governments from raising the minimum wage, and reduced workers’ compensation benefits, especially for those who hurt their shoulder on the job.

But below the radar, GOP lawmakers have moved several bills lately that would make life harder for working people, including some facing the difficult circumstances of unemployment or workplace injury.

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Iowa Senate confirms Gipp, Lukan, and other Branstad appointees

Yesterday the Iowa Senate unanimously confirmed eleven of Governor Terry Branstad’s appointees. You can find the full list of confirmations in the Senate Journal (pdf). The department or agency heads confirmed were:

Chuck Gipp, who has been serving as director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources since last May, shortly after his predecessor resigned;

Steve Lukan, whom Branstad hired to run the governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy last June;

Nick Gerhart, who replaced Susan Voss as state insurance commissioner at the end of 2012;

Robert von Wolffradt, whom Branstad appointed as Iowa’s chief information officer last May.

Seven of the nominees senators confirmed yesterday will serve on state boards, councils, or commissions, including Joanne Stockdale, a former chair of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry who is one of Branstad’s appointees to the Environmental Protection Commission.

Defeating the Health Care Forum Bullies (getting something done)

(Thanks to iowademocrat for bringing this discussion to Bleeding Heartland. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

(crossposted from Daily Kos and iowademocrat)
 
Last Wednesday, I attended a health care forum in Iowa hosted by Senator Tom Harkin. Following it, I wrote a diary, “Now I understand why war happens (a health care forum story).” In it, I asked the question, how can you defeat the bullies who are overrunning most of these meetings?
 
The problem in dealing with the teabaggers, deathers, birthers, racists, anarchists and radical libertarians who are overrunning health care forums nationwide is simple to describe.
 
They. Don't. Listen. Ever.
 
So, you can't really talk to them. When they have stacked the room, the intimidation is palpable. That's how they win.
 
I couldn't for the life of me think of how to beat these people, short of overpowering them somehow – hence the title of the diary. But, even as I wrote it, I knew that overpowering them just feeds into their fear and paranoia, and realistically, it's impossible anyway.
Today, after a little sleep and some reflection, I realized that the effect of the teabaggers' aggressive intimidation made me stupid for about eight hours. Anger is an amnesic agent. It makes you forget what you know. I was angry, depressed, agitated, and clueless all at once.
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