Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield made two major announcements to benefit its members today. First, Wellmark is offering its current non-grandfathered individual under-65 members and small business groups (plans with 2-50 employees) the option to extend their current health insurance coverage through Dec. 30, 2014 (in the individual market) and through Nov. 30, 2014 (in the small group market). Second, each one of Wellmark’s grandfathered and non-grandfathered individual under-65 members and small business groups (approximately 330,000 members) will not receive a base premium increase relative to medical trend or administrative costs for 2014. The only base premium increase they will receive is to accommodate the impact of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) fees and taxes required by all carriers – estimated to be less than a six percent increase.
“We are rewarding our valued members with today’s announcements,” said Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth. “As a mutual company, Wellmark is owned by its policyholders and these decisions are designed to provide them with maximum flexibility and choice while minimizing their increase in cost. The extension provides additional time to become more informed about what the changes in the market mean without losing the current coverage they know and trust. This is a decision that impacts one of their most precious assets – the overall well-being of themselves, their families and their businesses.”
Members and small groups still have the option of moving to one of Wellmark’s new ACA-compliant plans with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014. Small businesses and individual under-65 members should consult with their Wellmark representative about this new option. For more information on health care reform and how it impacts businesses, visit www.WeKnowReform.com.