RATE INCREASE: Customers Voice Concern Over Wellmark Proposal

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Health insurance costs have gone up each of the past seven years for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield customers and could be on the rise yet again.

“I have a feeling I’m going to get a letter at the end of the month that our premium is going to increase,” said Kris Clements, a Wellmark customer.

Wellmark is proposing a 12-13% percent rate increase.

If approved by the Iowa Insurance Commission, it would go into effect on April 1st.

Saturday, customers shared their concerns over paying higher costs at hearings held statewide.

Wellmark says the higher premiums are needed due to more customers seeking out of state care and increased drug costs.

“If Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss wasn’t to approve the rate increase, it would cause us to lose money and we would have to question whether we can offer some of the same policies,” said Laura Jackson, the executive vice president of health care policy and strategy for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

A decision on the rate increase will be made by the end of the month.

Wellmark says the proposed rate increase isn’t related to the Affordable Health Care Act set to go into effect in 2014.

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