Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield has proposed a 9.4% health insurance rate increase for residents purchasing Iowa health insurance . This has some of the 86,000 policyholders up in arms according to Tony Leys article “Wellmark Customers Grill Executive Over Premium Increase” found on DesMoinesRegister.com.
It makes sense that these policyholders would be frustrated with another rate increase but they are fighting for change. The Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield vice president, Laura Jackson, faced dozens of angry policyholders earlier this month to confront the possibility of premiums increasing. She was calm and tried to be as honest and straightforward as she could.
A constant flow of questions flew through the hearing before the state insurance commissioner who will ultimately decide whether or not the proposed rate increase will go through. Wellmark dominates Iowa’s health insurance market currently so this is a big decision. Over the past two years, rates have been increased by about 27% and families are struggling to swallow yet another increase upon them.
The hearing was held at a local library and lasted about three hours. Many frustrated Iowans appeared to confront the insurer making the meeting go much longer than expected. Jackson tried to drive home the fact that they are working hard to be a partner in this challenge. The company has been striving to work on programs to encourage healthy habits but Iowans are using services more and health care costs continue to rise. It’s a tough position for everyone involved.