NEWS

Wellmark enrolls 41,000 in Iowa, South Dakota

The insurer did not participate in the state's marketplace

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa's new location at 600 Third Avenue SE on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in southeast Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa's new location at 600 Third Avenue SE on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in southeast Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

More than 41,000 people in Iowa and South Dakota enrolled in 24,000 Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans during the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield open enrollment period from Oct. 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, the company said Monday.

“Our ACA plan enrollment numbers confirm that among all the confusion in the marketplace, consumers were drawn to a brand they know and trust,” said Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth in a statement. “Wellmark’s ACA plans were a new option and were just as competitive as those available on the health insurance marketplace.”

Enrollment data from Iowa’s largest insurer show that nearly half of the consumers who enrolled in a Wellmark ACA plan are new to Wellmark.

Members represent all age ranges, the company said. Wellmark had the highest enrollment among consumers in higher age brackets, 55-64 and 45-54, followed by consumers age 26-34 and 35-44.

The majority of costumers who purchased Wellmark’s ACA plans chose Silver level plans followed by Gold, Bronze and Platinum.

Wellmark did not participate in the 2014 health insurance marketplace in Iowa or South Dakota, but its new health insurance plans are ACA-compliant. Under the ACA, insurers must cover maternity leave and mental and preventive health as well as other benefits not previously required.

In April, the company announced to extend non-ACA compliant health plans to existing customers until October 2016, which could affect up to 300,000 of its members.

“Preserving this option means that our members can continue to keep the health insurance plans they want, know and trust while still having the flexibility to move to new ACA plans if those would better meet their needs,” Forsyth said in April.

l Comments: (319) 398-8331; chelsea.keenan@sourcemedia.net

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