A Midwestern arm of Coventry Health Care Inc. is setting up new Medicare operations in Iowa.[@@]

Coventry, Bethesda, Md., says a subsidiary in West Des Moines, Iowa, has started selling Medicare health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organization plans in a market that includes Black Hawk, Dallas, Polk, Scott and Warren counties in Iowa. The market is home to about 106,000 Medicare beneficiaries, Coventry says.

Participants in the plans must pay basic Medicare premiums, but at least one of the new Iowa Medicare managed care plans is available at no extra cost, Coventry says.