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WELLMARK SURPLUS: Hatch Says Refunds Needed

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Wellmark headquarters in Des Moines. (WHO-HD)

A likely candidate for governor says Wellmark needs to refund some of its $1.3 billion reserves.

Democratic Des Moines senator Jack Hatch says the state’s largest insurer has been stockpiling reserves in anticipation of the president’s health care plan.

The plan is expected to cost Wellmark and other companies more when they cover customers with higher health risks.

But Wellmark says it needs the reserves in case of continued health care cost increases and in the event of a pandemic. It says a private audit several years ago found the company’s reserves were in line with the number of customers it covers.