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2022 Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa (WHPI) ACA Public Comments


Judy A. - Waterloo - September 16, 2021

How do you expect those of us on a fixed income to keep paying more and more higher premiums every year.  We have rent, utilities, groceries, and other monthly things to pay for such as gas for our cars and medications. You big wigs sit there pulling in big six figure incomes and get your insurance pay for.  But you keep trying to make us little people think you care about us.


Janice H. - Pleasant Hill - September 1, 2021

I respectfully request that the amount of increase in premiums be as minimal as you can make it.  We are in tough times & health care is is too important to treat in a cavalier fashion. Thank you.


Marvin G. - Carlisle - September 1, 2021

The problem in the healthcare system right now id the continuing double digit increases by the private insurance companies in a single digit economy.  The double digit increases have resulted in more coverage, better care or anything else except more personal bankruptcies and less seeking of care.  Drive down Grand and look at the "poor and shoddy facilities" Wellmark is in.  Ask what the multiplier of the CEO's salary is to the average laborer.  Please deny the double digits requests, they can't be needed or justified.  Thank You.


Barbara D. - Decorah - September 1, 2021

In order for all citizens to access and benefit from healthcare plans a limit on corporate profits and CEO compensations should exist.


Renee W. - Des Moines - September 1, 2021

I’ve been to meetings in the past regarding rate increases and am not satisfied with what the Commissioner does other than give a nod of approval to insurance companies.  Perhaps if these increases weren’t always approved, insurance companies would have had to eliminate wasteful spending, find more efficient ways to do business, etc.  However, the silver lining is this.  Eventually the rates will be so high that EVERYONE will demand and find another solution to affordable health care.


Marvin G. - Carlisle - August 25, 2021

Increases of  20%  or more to individual policies is crippling to the individuals seeking the coverage.  They are probably already struggling to pay the premium.  A person really doesn't have insurance if they can't afford it  Is the company increasing the benefits they pay for?  I doubt it. If not , then they should not get to increase the premiums.  It doesn't appear that the insurance company  needs the additional revenue either.. I'm asking that you not allow the increases.  Thank You.


Shari - Ankeny - August 23, 2021

At a time when so many Iowans are afraid of being evicted, have lost their job, or have had or lost a loved one to COVID-19, it is immoral and inhumane to add to their burdens with an exorbitant, or any, increase to the cost of health care.  Wellmark is not suffering anything like what these people are enduring, and our Iowa Insurance Commissioner should not approve any increase in the cost of health care during such distressing times.


Jenny - West Des Moines - August 23, 2021

My low-income elementary students have just had a very difficult year. Their families have been some of the most affected by the pandemic. They have lost jobs, had to manage to keep their kids healthy and educate them, and in many cases, have become sick or disabled with Covid. These people cannot afford a 21% increase in premiums. They will join those who have no health insurance. They will be unable to get care early in the process for sick kids and we will lose kids who didn't receive medical care early enough. Our whole school could be traumatized by lost classmates and parents. Wellmark has billions in reserve. If a year like this with a pandemic and economic devastation for many isn't a time to use that reserve to keep premiums from rising, then they seem to only want money and not care about their community or health at all. They don't need this increase, and people can't handle it. Please deny any increase in this awful time.


Danielle W. - Dallas Center - August 23, 2021

The Global Pandemic devastated economies and many families globally. That huge profits are being sought by major health insurers, is immoral. A double digit health premium increase - is part of the immorality of a health care system (racket).

I am in favor of single-payer health care systems such as my cousins in Canada enjoy.


Mary - West Des Moines - August 22, 2021

I disagree with the premium rate increase proposed by Wellmark. This is a very closed block thinking pricing strategy and will only make the future long-term claim experience worse. Here is my case. My current annual premium is 8384 and my deductible is 6900. My claim so far is 4698, Of that amount, 422 was paid by my health plan and I paid the rest of 4276. Based on this actual experience, the loss ratio is 5.03%. I am not qualified for premium credit and I have pre-existing condition. It is difficult for me to get insurance elsewhere. You can see, my current insurance is TOO expensive for me already. With the proposed rate increase and benefit reduction in 2022, I will be better off without insurance.

I have the following suggestions:

- Develop a plan to increase the insurance penetration rate to general public so that future claim cost can be spread over a bigger insurable group.

- Provide an incentive for members to reduce future claim cost, for instance, an active participating health management plan through daily exercise/weight management plan, usage of a tele-medicine service, or a service to refill prescription through a cheaper online alternatives such as GoodRx....etc.

- Consider transferring extra risk to reinsurers.

- Implement a retention plan for members with favorable claim experience.

In the end, doesn’t matter whether we receive a premium subsidy or not, it is in our best interest that we all work together under Iowa Insurance Division’s leadership to maintain an affordable insurance plan with reasonable amount of insurance protection.  I hope the experts in Wellmark can help us understand what other alternatives are available to us, other than a big rate increase that will shock most of us.


Tony - Davenport - August 22, 2021

It is ridiculous that health insurance is already my family's largest monthly expense. Even though the insurance companies raise premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs every year simply by eliminating some plans and replacing them with higher consumer costs and less coverage, they now want to raise it even more by focusing on the one area of oversight!! The ACA made it possible for insurers to gorge themselves at the profit feeding trough because of premium tax credits. It's those same credits that allow me to have any health insurance coverage at all, but that is a year-to-year consideration. The normal deductibles alone are more than I typically spend in annual health care. Throw in the outrageous monthly premiums that are 50% more than my mortgage and it makes no economic sense to have healthcare insurance. The American healthcare system is the laughing stock of the developed world. One option health insurers SHOULD consider is NOT covering health care costs for people refusing Covid-19 vaccinations. They are the ones using up healthcare resources unnecessarily because of their stupidity.  Insurers won't cover people who participate in other dangerous activities, why is this different? That one change should be more than enough to cover their base-rate increase request. But, that's just band-aid. Giving in to insurer requests for an increase in base rate only empowers insurers to continue to be careless in actually providing affordable care. Something is very wrong when you actually have healthcare coverage and you can't get the treatment your doctor says you need because the insurance company says "no". What insurers are trying to do is get out of actually providing health care coverage and simply collect premiums based on fear.


Frank B. - Dubuque - August 18, 2021

Everyday Iowans deserve access to care when and where we need it without exorbitant premiums and, too often, denials of needed care and treatment. These insurers can and should do better, but they've asked the state to accept this rate increase. Now it's up to the Iowa Insurance Division to step in and deny their proposed premium increases.


D. Scott I. - Muscatine - August 18, 2021

I am calling about the Wellmark premium increase for the policy we have purchased for your 12 year old granddaughter for whom we are legal guardians and her grandparents.  Currently our premium is $255 and it is part of the Obamacare plan. My wife and I are retired at 70 and 68 and we feel the 11/1% increase is too aggressive.  We realize costs go up but for instance our social security checks went up 1.9% this year and our premium for Medicare went up also.  We are not indicating Wellmark shouldn’t be allowed some increase but with today’s high inflation rate of 5.4%, 11.1% seems awful aggressive.  We would agree coverage for a  12 year old young lady going up to $283 is a little much and a more reasonable increase would be closer to or less than the rate of inflation.


Emily C. - Boone - August 18, 2021

A twenty percent hike in healthcare premiums is  criminal. We won't get more coverage but yet have to pay more and surely this proposed hike will not be leveraged by a 20% hike in peoples salaries.


Barbara K. - Davenport - August 18, 2021

Health Care is a human night not fur just those who can afford to pay. Raising rate is in humane and should not be allowed. Health care is American is too expensive and its immoral. I will vote out any politician who doesn't support Medicare for All and extremely low premiums. America should have UHC not for profit insurance companies. Lower healthcare prices NOW!


Allie K. - Iowa City - August 18, 2021

The proposed premium increase for the ACA individual plans for 2022 should be denied. This affects thousands of Iowans and their access to health care. Iowans deserve access to care when and where we need it without exorbitant premiums.


Lora R. - Long Grove - August 18, 2021

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield should be required to have total profit/expenses transparency before a 21% premium increase is granted and it should only be granted premium increases that do not put excessive amounts of money into the hands of insurers and their employees at the expense of the insured.

Also, regulate them so the insured receives no surprise billing and the care they need is covered. My husband with small cell lung cancer was denied coverage for a PetScan, but we didn’t know until after the scan was done. Although his oncologist had used every other test to determine if recurrent cancer caused his collapse to no avail, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (through my employer) said the PetScan was not medically necessary even though small cell lung cancer almost always recurs and often elsewhere in the body. In no way should  this over $8,000 test been our responsibility to pay. We thought we had good insurance and are now stuck with it because of my husband’s pre-existing condition. No wonder the insurance companies don’t care about service!  My employer paid premiums to BCBS for over 35 years on our behalf, but we only had a few minor claims until the last 5 years. We discovered they are good until you get sick!


Amy B. - Cedar Rapids - August 18, 2021

I believe the increase requested to be too great. A modest increase would be acceptable.


Scott - Muscatine - August 17, 2021

I’m calling about the Wellmark premium increase for the policy that we have purchased for our 12 year-old grand-daughter for whom we are her legal guardian & grandparents. 

Currently our premium is $255.  I believe it would be part of the Obamacare plan.  My wife and I are retired at 70 and 68 years of age.  We feel that the 11.1% increase is too aggressive.

We realize costs go up, for instance our Social Security checks went up, I believe, 1.9%, and of course the premiums for Medicare went up also.

So we’re not indicating Wellmark shouldn’t be allowed some increase.  But with even today’s high inflation rate of 5.4%, 11.1 seems awfully aggressive.

We would argue that she as a 12 year-old young lady, going to $283 a month is a little bit much, and a more reasonable increase would be something close to or maybe even less than the current rate of inflation.  Thank you.


Stephanie H. - Waverly - August 17, 2021

I personally find it a disgusting that you are wanting to raise our rates right after you lost a law suit regarding competition in the marketplace. To me this rate increase is not truly about medical costs going up, but instead about re-cooping the nearly $2.67 Billion you hard to pay out in your settlement. You cannot tell me that you have not made a great deal of profits off the back of your customers and will continue to make large profits even with an increase in medical costs. While, profit margins may decrease by a small percentage this company will still be making billions in profits every year, so there is no truly valid reason to increase rates at this time.

It would be advantageous for this company to wait a few years for the stain of their settlement to lessen in the eyes of their customers before looking to increase base rates. Especially, since the invoices you send out do not specify just how much of the current amount people are paying is a base rate. This leads to people not knowing exactly how much their rates will truly increase under the new rates. Invoices should be itemized better, so that your customers are able to see exactly what they are paying for as well as analyze any changes that may be taking place in regards to what they are paying.


David B. - Bettendorf - August 17, 2021

I firmly oppose the “proposed Increase in Base Premium Rates” due to the fact that this year all insurance plans reviewed reflective of my income were higher than last year. It was apparent that all insurance plans had already made substantial increases for 2021 as not one plan was the same as last year.

2021 insurance plans were significantly higher in comparison to last year with regard to deductibles and copays. Additionally, the coverage and network parameters had also changed (been reduced). Furthermore, in my situation, the Government Site had premium information reflective of my income however, the Insurance company, internally had a different higher rate. Thus, the Insurance company started billing me a higher rate and when I question their invoice, they called me saying they would call the Government Health Marketplace on my behalf and have it changed!

I said no I would call the marketplace myself. I initially was assisted by the Government Health Marketplace representative when I agreed to the plan. Upon calling the Government Health Market Place, they confirmed their information was correct, my monthly premium was what I had agreed upon and the Insurance Company invoice was wrong.  I notified the Insurance Co and they still insisted I owed them the higher rate. After multiple conversations with the insurance company and Health Market Place Representative, it was finally resolved.

Come to find out, the Insurance company had not informed the Government they had already increased their rates for 2021, had not shared this rate increase with the Government Health Market Place, however still wanted the public/consumer to pay their higher rate, even though the consumer had already agreed to the lower Government Market Place rate.

In retrospect, I wonder how many Government Market Place consumers were duped by the insurance company into paying a higher rate after the fact?!  The entire way the insurance company approached me and their underhanded tactics seemed to be of planed significant consideration on their part.

Given this information, and the fact that the insurance company has clearly already raised their rates for 2021, I feel they should not be allowed to raise them again!  Each year the plans change and the insurance companies are allowed to raise premiums, out of pocket, and alter coverage to make it impossible to obtain health insurance without paying an arm and a leg, even though the consumer has the Government Health Market credit.

Therefore, I am requesting the Iowa Insurance Commissioner reject the proposed increases in the base premium rate as the insurance companies have already make adjustments to 2021 plans. I would also request the tracking of increases to ensure the Insurance companies are not increasing multiple times during the year as well as staying within a low-rate increase. Let’s keep in mind the insurance companies have captured income through the middle- and low-income consumers not to mention the individuals which could never afford insurance, and these additional revenue pools are all through the assistance of the Government Health Market Place Credit. They have already substantially increased their revenues annually through these untapped resources by way of our government credit so why should they be allowed to substantially increase each year?


Mandi T. - Maquoketa - August 17, 2021

First things, first. The information is fine. Not very useful to make a great decision. Better way to present the data to me or possibly others.  Is in a visual numerical format.   By showing a table the proposed rates increase (3.8% to 21%) would provide some context.

For example:

2021  - $800.00 before tax credit  | ACA Rate after tax credit

2021 - $800.00  employer program | Employee Rate | Employer Credit to


2022 - $830.40 - $992.00 before tax credit  | ACA Rate after tax credit

2022- $830.40 - $992.00  employer program | Employee Rate | Employer Credit to Employee

Additionally, providing breakdown on what the tax rate is based on income:

10,000 .00 to 45,000.00 = Estimated tax credit.

46,000.00 to 100,000.00    = Estimated tax credit.

This is how I like to look at the data and estimate based on my budget, which is the most cost effective approach.


Erin H. - Cedar Rapids - August 17, 2021

I just got this insurance 2 weeks ago and I am already receiving something stating that it is going to go up. I don't get a tax break on it, it already costs so much with very little benefits that come with it. I have medical issues and choose to get insurance on the marketplace for it. Its so unfair to see it go up that much already... Please do not raise it that much or at all.


Ewiniki C. - Des Moines - August 16, 2021

I am not for a premium rate increase to 11.1 percent. It seems people who is making this decisions does not understand mid class has taken enough hits financially. I do not understand why we are responsible for the medical trend, government fee and taxes and administrative expenses. Find another source.


Seth M. - Fairfield - August 16, 2021

Since I began buying insurance on the ACA marketplace years ago, I have seen my premiums increase exorbitant amounts each year, forcing me to switch to plans with worse benefits.  Each year.  While grateful for the protections for preexisting conditions and some of the other stipulations in the ACA, the "marketplace" in my experience has basically consisted of plans from two companies (BCBS and Medica) who have nothing stopping them from jacking up the prices every year.  My wife and I have been lucky, so far, but the out of pocket maximums of the plans we are still able to afford are thousands of dollars greater than the BCBS plan we originally signed up for years ago. The plan we have now doesn't give us peace of mind, and increasing the premiums by the proposed amount would kick us to the curb yet again, leaving us to scrounge for the next downgrade in a long series of downgrades. Reject the proposed rate increase!


Meaghan - Iowa City - August 12, 2021

Wellmark’s proposed rate increase - which is nearly 4x the national average increase - will hurt Iowans, especially those who are already struggling.

Michelle - Urbandale - August 9, 2021

Increases in health insurance premiums should be manageable. An increase of 21 percent is not.

Linda - Cedar Falls - August 9, 2021

The 60,000 Iowans who rely on Wellmark for ACA plans are less likely than others to afford a double-digit premium increase. All of us benefit when everyone can get the health care they need without going hungry or losing housing in order to afford it. When people drop insurance as rates sky rocket, they are more likely to spread diseases the rest of us will get. With excellent profits through the pandemic, Wellmark just looks greedy with this request.

Jill - Davenport - August 9, 2021

NO, THE PREMIUMS SHOULD NOT BE INCREASED!!!! They are too high right now!! Our premium right now is $1,023.28 for 2 people for a high deductible HSA plan! If it weren't for the premium tax credits, we would not be able to afford that! If the cost of health care is high in general and because of the pandemic, that is on the government, not the fault of the people!

We shouldn't have to pay more!! Maybe health care costs should be a lot lower like in other countries. They are just ridiculous!! What ever happened to the promise to fix our broken health care system! That is were we need to start.

Raising premiums is not the answer!

Gabriel - Decorah - July 7, 2021

My name is Gabriel, in Decorah, in Winneshiek county.  I’m commenting on the Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa premium base rate increase.  

My comment is that it’s absolutely abhorrent that at this time, as our country and world is emerging from a global pandemic, they could choose to increase our rates.

It’s disgusting and they’re profiting off our pain and suffering, and it really just should not be legal in any sense of the word.  And if the Iowa Insurance Commissioner actually cares about Iowans and the average person, they would deny this increase.  Because frankly, our for-profit medical care system is just completely broken.  Once again, insurance companies are squeezing us, and the average Iowa worker is bearing the brunt of the force.

Thank you for taking my comment today.

Jay S. - Hinton - June 16, 2021

I am opposed to it.  You have raised this rate every year significantly.  So I don’t know what I can say but as soon as possible I will be switching out of this premium because this is ridiculous.