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Wellmark announces requested 2015 rates for individual policies and public exchange decision in Iowa

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today that it has determined the 2015 requested rates it will file with the Iowa Insurance Division (IID).

June 20, 2014

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today that it has determined the 2015 requested rates it will file with the Iowa Insurance Division (IID). If approved, the vast majority of its individual policy holders will receive, on average, 5.9 percent or less rate increase to their 2015 health insurance premiums. Wellmark also announced it will forgo participation in the federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (public exchange) in Iowa for one additional year.

 

2015 Requested Rates

 

Wellmark will file its requested rates for the individual and small group market with the IID by July 7, 2014. In Iowa, individuals and small groups comprise around 250,000 Wellmark members.    

 

The vast majority of Wellmark’s individual members in Iowa will receive a 5.9 percent or less rate increase to their 2015 health insurance premiums. As allowed under state and federal rules, these members chose to keep their policies established prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because they met their needs. These policies are quality insurance products that, on average, would be considered Gold-standard level plans as defined by the ACA.

 

Wellmark’s requested rate increases for Iowa include:

 

Plan type

Number of Wellmark members

Requested rate increase

Individual Under 65 plans

130,000

5.9% or less

Individual Under 65 – ACA plans

19,000

11.9-14.5%

Small Group plans

(less than 50 employees)

90,000

2-4%

Small Group plans – ACA plans

14,000

less than 4.9%

 

It is important to remember that the rate increases will vary by plan. Wellmark members should wait for their individual renewal notice later this year to see how the increases may or may not impact them. If approved, the rate increases would take effect on January 1, 2015.

 

Public Exchange Decision

 

Wellmark will forgo participating on the public exchange in 2015, which is the only online store where individuals can receive a federal subsidy toward the purchase of an individual health insurance policy. Despite not being on the public exchange in 2014, Wellmark sold more ACA policies than any other carrier in Iowa.

 

“Every company determines where to sell their products and we made this decision considering a number of variables,” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark Executive Vice President, Health Care Innovation and Business Development. “We looked at factors like the probability of a state or regional-based exchange and the continued challenges with the current public exchange to name a few. Wellmark will continue to offer health insurance through existing channels – licensed agents or direct from Wellmark – with plans to participate in the public exchange in 2016.”

Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338
mcbeet@wellmark.com

 

Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869
rooft@wellmark.com

 

1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

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