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April 03, 2017

DES MOINES, IA — Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield today announced their decision not to sell or renew individual and family Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in Iowa with a Jan. 1, 2018, effective date.

Over the past three years, Wellmark members with individual health plans in Iowa, governed by the ACA, have endured double-digit premium increases. In addition, Wellmark has lost approximately $90 million in the individual ACA market during the same timeframe.

“Finding solutions to stabilize this market is in the best interest of all Iowans, including providers of health care and insurance carriers,” said Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth. “No one really benefits from rising costs. While there are many potential solutions, the timing and relative impact of those solutions is currently unclear. This makes it difficult to establish plans for 2018.”

Who this impacts

This affects 21,400 — or 1.3 percent — of Wellmark’s 1.66 million members in Iowa. Members who currently have an individual or family ACA plan will continue to have coverage through Dec. 31, 2017.

Majority of Iowans are not impacted

This change does not affect people who purchased their individual or family health plan pre-ACA (plans purchased prior to Jan. 1, 2014 — otherwise known as grandfathered or grandmothered plans).

This change also does not affect our members with plans through their employer (including small group ACA plans) or those with Medicare supplement plans.

“We look forward to working with state and federal legislators to determine the best path forward to ensure Iowans have access to high-quality health care,” said Forsyth.