Medica saw revenue of about $8.7 million during the first quarter of 2016 selling individual market coverage in Iowa and Nebraska, primarily through new health insurance exchanges.

That's not a huge number considering that the Minnetonka-based health insurer, overall, saw more than $1 billion in revenue during the quarter, according to regulatory filings earlier this month.

Even so, it's noteworthy in the broader story about competition on the exchanges, and the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Medica was a new entrant in Iowa and Nebraska for 2016, and next year plans to enter the individual market in Kansas, as well. Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, meanwhile, has dominated headlines in recent months with news of its withdrawal from many exchanges across the country, including those for Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

In a statement to the Star Tribune, Dannette Coleman, a senior vice president at Medica, said most of the policies the insurer sold in Iowa and Nebraska have been through the exchanges, rather than the "off-exchange" market where people buy directly from insurers or through brokers.

Without releasing enrollment numbers, Medica said its membership in Nebraska is about four times the number in Iowa, where much of the individual market continues to have "transition policies" that were in place prior to major health law changes in 2014.

These are the policies that some states let consumers continue in the wake of controversy in late 2013 over the president's famous pledge: "If you like your health plan you can keep it."

"The numbers are in line with what we had anticipated in the first year," Coleman said in a statement.

"We expect that the experience for many individuals in Iowa and Nebraska of having a new entrant in 2014 [a federally-funded cooperative insurer] that left after one year is concerning," she said. "Our intent was to move in to the markets cautiously, and grow our market share in the subsequent years."

The exchanges were created by the health law as online marketplaces for individuals and families to buy coverage outside of employer groups and government programs. Exchange shoppers can tap subsidies that discount premium costs.

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