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Parts of legislation that put substantial hurdles in front of voters trying to cast their vote have been deemed unconstitutional. A district court judge ruled earlier this week that due to lack of training and potential for error, election officials are not allowed to throw ballots out due to a perceived difference in signature.

The judge also ruled that because there is now an identification requirement for those who wish to vote in person, everyone must be eligible for a voter identification card. Initially, voter ID cards were only sent out to those who were not in the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) database. The court also ruled that additional requirements on an absentee ballot request are no longer required to be put on by the voter.

While those looking to make it harder for people to vote and voting rights advocates can both point to victories in the ruling, the ruling confirms what House Democrats sought from the beginning, which was to guarantee that everyone could get a voter identification card if requiring a voter ID became law.

At the moment, it is unclear if the state, who defended the law, or the League of United Latin American Citizens and an Iowa State student who brought the suit ,will appeal the decision of the court.

2020 ACA Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1

Open enrollment begins November 1, 2019, and ends December 15, 2019, for Iowans purchasing or changing their Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual health insurance coverage for 2020.

Iowans can preview sample premium amounts for individual ACA-compliant health insurance plans at https://data.iowa.gov/d/xd92-u8rq. These sample premiums are NOT a substitute for healthcare.gov information, but will become official once they are posted to the official website. The sample premiums are based on geographical rating areas and do not account for the premium assistance tax credits available for many households.

Iowans who wish to purchase ACA-compliant coverage need to complete enrollment between November 1 and December 15, 2019, to have coverage effective by January 1, 2020. During open enrollment, Iowans may call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov for information regarding enrollment and to calculate applicable tax credits.

Local insurance agents, assisters, and Iowa’s navigator are available to help Iowans review which insurance plan may best fit their needs. Iowans can find local help by visiting https://localhelp.HealthCare.gov/.

Medica, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, and Wellmark Value Health Plan will be offering ACA-compliant individual health insurance plans to Iowans for plan year 2020. Iowans in every county will have a choice of at least two carriers. Iowans who currently have coverage through the exchange and do not choose a plan for 2020 by the end of open enrollment will be re-enrolled into the same or a similar plan.

Those considering changing insurance carriers should double-check to ensure preferred healthcare provider(s) are in-network and prescription drugs will continue to be covered.