Des Moines, Iowa — If you are among the northwest Iowans who have an individual health insurance policy through Des Moines-based Wellmark, you may find yourself with no healthcare coverage beginning January 1st.
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has announced that they will no longer sell new individual health insurance policies in Iowa, and some current Iowa policyholders who have Wellmark insurance will lose it in 2018. Wellmarks says their customers who bought individual policies during the past three years are the group that will be affected. Many, but not all, of those individual policies were sold through the “marketplace” created by the “Affordable Care Act”, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Wellmark blames the move on their loss of $90-million incurred insuring that group over the past three years, despite dramatic, double-digit premium increases each year.
Wellmark says their decision affects only those who have an individual health insurance policy, and will NOT impact those who get their Wellmark policy through a group plan. In addition, the insurance giant says they will continue selling individual Medicare Supplement plans to older customers.
Insurers face a deadline in May to decide whether to sell individual policies in 2018. Due to rising costs and uncertainty about the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many other companies are waiting to make a final decision.