WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO & WHY WE DO IT
Maintaining your trust. Transforming the health care system. Contributing to community vitality.
We’re Wellmark, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. We’re also a mutual insurance company, which means we’re owned by our policy holders, not investors — and that’s important. Since we’re owned by our friends and neighbors throughout Iowa and South Dakota, we know what’s important. Wellmark members demand exceptional value. We work hard every day to deliver that by carefully managing costs, providing outstanding customer service and empowering our members to stay healthy.
The health care industry is changing. That's a fact. Wellmark is working to help change it for the better.
Everyone deserves affordable and sustainable health insurance options. That is why Wellmark's focus is to reduce the rate of health care cost increases to equal the rate of inflation.
Wellmark recognizes that our members deserve health care delivered with a focus on quality — not quantity — of care. And, members should be able to make clear and informed decisions when it comes to their care. The work we are doing inside the health care system by collaborating with our health care partners will create these changes, all while working to minimize ever-increasing health care costs.
However, it doesn’t stop there. These changes come with fostering strong, healthy communities and helping citizens make small, yet significant changes to improve their well-being. We refer to this as the work being done outside the health care system.
By working together, we can create a healthier tomorrow. And we promise to work hard every day to make this possible.
We’ve built our reputation on 75 years' worth of trust. It is not something we take for granted. The health insurance industry can be complicated, but it is our job to make it as easy as possible for our members. We aren’t motivated by profits. We’re motivated by the well-being of our friends, family and neighbors — our members. It is our job to deliver the health insurance you can depend on while operating efficiently.
A few highlights from our history.
1900 – The Blue Shield concept—born of employers’ desire to provide medical coverage to employees—emerges from the lumber and mining camps of the Pacific Northwest.
1929 – An official at Baylor University in Dallas, Texas introduces a plan to guarantee schoolteachers hospital care for a small yearly premium. The idea takes off nationwide and the Blue Cross concept is born.
1939 – The birth year of what is now Wellmark: Hospital Service Incorporated of Iowa, later known as Blue Cross of Iowa, begins business in Des Moines. That same year, Associated Hospital Services Incorporated, later known as Blue Cross of Western Iowa and South Dakota, begins in Sioux City, Iowa.
1945– Iowa Medical Service, later known as Blue Shield of Iowa, forms.
1989 – Blue Cross of Iowa, Blue Shield of Iowa and Blue Cross of Western Iowa and South Dakota merge to form IASD Health Services Corporation.
1991 – IASD Health Services Corporation becomes a mutual insurance company owned by its shareholders.
1997 – We adopt the name Wellmark.
2011 – We partner with Healthways to introduce Blue Zones Project®, a centerpiece of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative to improve the well-being of all Iowans, as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
2012 – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa announce a groundbreaking collaboration with Iowa Health System and Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, creating Iowa’s first commercial health plan accountable care organization (ACOs).
2014 – We celebrate our 75th anniversary.
2016 – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa creates two new health insurance companies with Mercy Health Network and University of Iowa Health System to develop and deliver plans on and off the public exchange and in the small group market.