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Wellmark voluntarily delays individual market rate increases
March 16, 2010

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield evaluates the need for rate increases very carefully to ensure we continue to provide the best value to our members. Wellmark was notified on March 8, 2010, that at the request of Governor Chet Culver, the Iowa Insurance Division would engage an independent actuarial firm to review Wellmark’s recently approved 2010 premium increases for individual members under age 65.


Wellmark is cooperating with the independent review, and we have voluntarily agreed to postpone the effective date of the increase for 30 days — from April 1 to May 1 — to allow for the review to be completed. We believe the independent review will support the Iowa Insurance Division’s previous conclusion that the approved rates are justified and in accordance with Iowa law.


The chart below is included to help you understand how this rate increase postponement affects you and your Wellmark health insurance plan:


If you have…



Not requested a change in your coverage



No action needed



Submitted changes to your plan



No action needed. Your requested changes will be implemented.



Recently enrolled in a Wellmark health plan



No action needed. Your premium rate for April 2010 will be less than what you were quoted or the premium amount stated in your offer letter. Upon completion of the independent review, your rate will be adjusted accordingly. If the rate differs from what was previously quoted, you will be given notice of the new rate.



Recently received a premium invoice


If you received an invoice in the mail, you will be receiving a revised invoice shortly. The invoice will indicate the revised amount you will owe, or reflect a credit amount if you have submitted your payment and the payment has been applied to your account. Any credit to your account will be applied to your next billing cycle. Once the rate review is completed, you will receive another invoice indicating any additional premium owed for May and June 2010 if necessary.



Your premium amount automatically deducted from a designated account


No matter what your billing cycle, no action is needed.

  • Annual and Semi-Annual billing cycle – No action is needed. Your premium amount was deducted from your designated account in January 2010 before any rate increase would have gone into effect. If you have not made changes to your contract, Wellmark will postpone any further deductions from your account until the rate review is completed.
  • Quarterly billing cycle – No action is needed. Your quarterly premium amount for the period of April 1 to June 30, 2010 will be deducted from your account in early April. The deducted amount will not reflect any increase in premium (unless you have made a contract change). Once the rate review is completed, we will deduct any additional amount for the billing cycle period through June 30, 2010 if necessary.
  • Monthly billing cycle – No action is needed. Your monthly premium amount for April 2010 will be deducted from your account in early April. The deducted amount will not reflect any increase in premium (unless you have made a contract change). Once the rate review is completed, the amount deducted in early May for your May 2010 premium will be adjusted if necessary.

Wellmark is a mutual insurance company owned by its policyholders, and its employees are committed to making health insurance affordable and sustainable for our members. While we recognize increases are never welcomed, we believe the rates remain appropriate and we continue to work with health care providers to manage the costs of health care.


If you have additional questions about how this rate change impacts you, please contact your authorized Wellmark agent, or call Wellmark Customer Service at 1-800-847-1506.

Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338


Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869


1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

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