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Wellmark announces option for its South Dakota members to extend their current health insurance plans into 2017
April 29, 2014

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today that it will offer eligible individual under-65 members and small business groups in South Dakota the option to extend qualified non-grandfathered health insurance coverage into 2017. Wellmark announced a similar option for its Iowa policy holders earlier this month. The option to extend certain non-grandfathered plans was recently approved for all South Dakota health insurers by the South Dakota Insurance Division.


“We are pleased that Governor Daugaard has decided in favor of policy extensions for South Dakotans,” said Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth. “Preserving this option means that all of our members can continue to keep the health insurance plans they want, know and trust while still having the flexibility to move to new ACA plans if those would better meet their needs.”


Wellmark members responded positively to the policy extension the company offered in 2013 - more than 90 percent of Wellmark individual policyholders and approximately 85 percent of small business groups chose to keep and extend their plans through 2014.    


Wellmark’s non-ACA plans provide high levels of excellent coverage including coverage of pre-existing conditions. In fact, the average actuarial value for Wellmark’s non-ACA individual and small group plans in South Dakota is over 76%, which would place them near the equivalent of a “Gold level” plan on the marketplace. For comparison, the majority of consumers to date have purchased Silver plans in the ACA marketplace. Gold level plans are required to pay for approximately 80% of the cost of care (leaving 20% of the cost to the member) while Silver level plans pay approximately 70% of the cost and leave 30% to the member.


Wellmark members who qualify for this extension will receive information from Wellmark to ensure they are informed about all of their options; including renewing their current plan as well as additional options available to them like new ACA plans and marketplace subsidies. Qualified small businesses and individual under-65 members with additional questions should consult with their licensed Wellmark representative or call the Wellmark customer service department using the phone number on the back of their Wellmark member ID card.


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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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