Last year, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield raised rates 18% without any public input. This year they have proposed an 11% rate hike in insurance premiums. This time Iowans have a chance to be heard at a public hearing sponsored by the Iowa Insurance Commissioner on Thursday, January 6 from 9-11 am at the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse.

Last year legislation was passed by the Iowa House of Representatives to hold insurance companies accountable and provide more transparency for consumers on health insurance plans and premiums, and rate
“Iowa families and small businesses deserve to know the specific reasons why their insurance rates are rising so dramatically every year,” said Steckman. “After years of double digit rate increases, small businesses deserve more warning and an opportunity to voice their concerns before rate increases take effect.”

The public hearing in Mason City will be via video conference over the state’s ICN network. Last November, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield filed requests for increases in base premium rates for individual health insurance policies. If approved, the increases will take effect for policies purchased or renewed on or after April 1, 2011. This will not affect group health insurance policies.

“I encourage you to participate in the hearing to voice your concerns. If you are unable to attend the hearing in Mason City, you can log on to and leave your testimony on-line for Wellmark,” said Steckman.

Under the Wellmark proposal, base rates will go up 10.8% for almost 46,000 individual policyholders under age 65 (it does not apply to Medicare policies). Base rates will increase 11.3% for about 3,000 individual basic and standard policyholders. In addition, base rates will increase 15% for about 2,500 Blue Transitions policyholders, which is a policy for those who transition from an employer group to individual coverage.
For more information, contact the Iowa Insurance Commissioner at 515-281-5705 or toll free 877-955-1212.