On March 8, 2010, Iowa Governor Chet Culver called for an independent actuarial review of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s premium rate increases for the Iowa individual market. Wellmark delayed implementation of the rate increase for 30 days to allow the review to be completed. The review concluded that Wellmark’s rate proposals were “appropriate based upon the information submitted and the statutory and administrative guidelines of Iowa law.”
As a result, Wellmark will move forward with its previously announced rate increases for premiums effective May 1, 2010.
We are pleased the independent review has confirmed our premium rates as appropriate and in compliance with Iowa law. While no one likes a rate increase – including Wellmark – we hope our policyholders understand that these increases are necessary to address the rising trend in health care costs.
At the same time, we don’t expect our policyholders to be satisfied with premium increases. We are not satisfied either. We look forward to working with others in the industry to create a better health care system that improves the quality of the care our members receive, is more efficient, and results in lower premium increases in the future.
One way Wellmark is trying to help is by focusing attention on the underlying drivers of health care costs, to create a sustainable health care system that lowers costs over the long term.
New premium rates take effect May 1
If you normally receive your premium invoice by mail, an invoice reflecting the new premium amount owed will be mailed the week of April 19, 2010.
If your health insurance premium is automatically deducted from a designated account, your payment will be deducted on May 3 or May 5, 2010. For monthly automatic withdrawals, the new monthly premium amount will be deducted at this time.
For quarterly, semi-annual or annual automatic withdrawals, the difference in premium owed will be deducted at this time.
Please refer to the Premium Change Notice you received in February for your new rate to ensure you have sufficient funds in your account.