More than 1.6 million Iowans are covered by a Wellmark policy. The company’s decision will affect 21,400 Iowans who bought individual plans from Wellmark in the past three years. Wellmark will not sell people in this group an insurance policy in 2018. Many, but not all, of those individual policies were sold through the “marketplace” createcd by the Affordable Care Act.
According to a company statement, Wellmark has lost $90 million insuring this group over the past three years, despite dramatic, double-digit premium increases.
Wellmark’s decision affects fewer than two percent of its policy holders. It does not impact Iowans who get their Wellmark policy through a group plan. In addition, Wellmark will continue selling individual Medicare supplement policies 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.