Wellmark Proposes 2012 Rate Increase

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa has requested to increase rates for most of its pre-65 individual health insurance policy holders by 9.35% starting April 1, 2012.  Consumers and consumer groups are welcome post and read the comments or concerns for this proposed increase on this website or on the linked Twitter page.  All comments and concerns submitted here or to the Consumer Advocate are considered public.  All comments and concerns submitted on the website or directly to the Consumer Advocate will be provided to the Iowa Commissioner of Insurance during the public hearing for this proposed increase for consideration.  Information related to the proposed rate increase may be found below.

Wellmark’s Rate Increase Documents and Reports:

2012 Wellmark Rate Increase Application to the Commissioner

Public Hearing Location

2012 Wellmark Hearing Agenda

Transcript of December 10, 2011 Hearing

2012 Wellmark Hearing Public Testimony and Comments Report

Iowa Insurance Division Actuarial Review of Rate Increase Application – 2012 Wellmark

MAGNUM Actuarial Group Independent Actuary Review of Rate Increase Application – 2012 Wellmark

Rate Proposal Review Decision

The comment period has closed.


337 Responses to “Wellmark Proposes 2012 Rate Increase”

  1. John Anderson Says:

    We have had a policy since 1997 with Blue Cross it has continued to increase over years but non like the last 2 years our policy for 2 62 year old adults is now over $2000 a month how can they say every year they need and increase after building a building like they have are they just allowed to charge anything they like the power companied etc do not get to do this without proving they need the increase not just to increase profits. When we get a price increase notice they say you may change your policy every time we ask they say now that we live in Arizona we cannot change our policy it seems that they can collect premiums across state lines but we cannot change our policy this needs to be investigated the are targeting seniors it seems.

    John Anderson

  2. W.H. Kamery Says:

    This is regarding the 9.35% increase Wellmark has requested for Iowa individual policyholders under 65.
    If their request is granted, combined with the 18% increase last year and the 8.5% increase already this year, will amount to an increase of almost 40% over two years.

    This is totally unfair to the people of Iowa. What percentage of Iowa’s population has seen their income increase by 40% in the last two years? Is the State of Iowa willing to allow Wellmark to price their coverage beyond what the typical Iowan can afford?

    Wellmark is claiming to spend nearly 88 cents of each premium dollar on care and medication. Most honest well-run businesses would be happy to see a 12% profit, and to achieve it they would cut costs, increase efficiency, etc., not increase their prices. They certainly would build a a state of the art fitness center for their employees.

    Wellmark is also claiming that these increases are a national trend and not unique to Iowa. However the survey the refer to, by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Education Trust, indicates a average increase from 2010 to 2011 of 9%, while Wellmark received an increase of double that last year.

    If you want to represent the people of Iowa, tell Wellmark to lower the rates, not increase them.

    Thank you
    W. H. Kamery

  3. Dennis and Linda Robertson Says:

    My husband and I were thrown into private health insurance when we gave up our Motorola Retiree Health Insurance that we had from when my husband was forced to retire from Motorola (We were picking up the entire load and it was no bargain, you can believe me.) when a local company that I had taken a job with here in Iowa told me that my job was secure and I was not a target for layoff or dismissal. I went with their company insurance and 3 months later I was let go. We could not return to the Motorola plan so we were adrift as it were and had to find coverage before the end of the month that I was let go.

    We are with State Farm for home and auto so went with their health care coverage and I can’t remember now the name of the health care folks that they are aliened with. After the first year the premium went up something like close to 40%. I went shopping and found that I could reduce my deductable and have lower cost premiums with Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield through our local Farm Bureau here in Manchester. We were both relieved and happy as the coverage was better and, as I said, the deductable was much less.

    However, since we have been with Wellmark in the years 2008 to the present day our premiums have increased 31.1%, (from $7,242.60 per year to the current cost of $10,517.70 per year.) You have to add to those figures the $3500 deductable and that is quite a bite for two people who are living on our savings and investments. I am 63 and my husband is 64. Since being let go from the job that we came back to Iowa for, neither one of us have been able to find full time employment of any kind. Leaving the State Farm policy which cost us at the time $9861.00 per year with a deductable of $2500.00 each, I have to wonder just what the cost on that is these days.

    My point is that at what point do you just ditch the entire thing and let nature take it’s course? As it is, I figure that if I don’t get an annual check up and manage what ever might ail me it is kind of “what I don’t know, can’t hurt me” but we all know that this is a path that at my age isn’t a good one to be on but that is what I have been doing. I know that I am not alone is this sea of health care costs. However, let’s add one more bit of information here. My husband and I are trying to live on $40,000 per year. Now, does that give you some perspective? Thank the Lord we own our own home out right and have no debt. I can’t imagine what others carrying a load of mortgage or credit card debt must be dealing with. Add to that the impending cuts to the Medicare that my husband will be old enough to participate in in the second half of next year and the threat of cutting our “entitlement” Social Security that we have been paying into for years and years. This country is headed to the ghetto in a big hurry.

    I think that you need to put the squeeze on these guys. We can’t afford another big bite for what little that we have.

    God bless,
    Dennis and Linda Robertson

  4. Don Schlimmer Says:

    I was shocked to hear that Wellmark is proposing an 9.5% increase in our health insurance for next year.

    Being retired and too young for Medicare, this is just a huge burden on us. We currently have a $2500.00 (each person) deductable. With this high of a deductable we just don’t go to the doctor as much as we should. So I would guess that everyone else that also has the high deductable does that same. So, how many of us really use their insurance, thus reducting their cost!

    When I had to take an early retirement because of business conditions in 2007 the cost of their insurance was $350.00 per month, now it’s $532.00. That’s over 52% increase in monthly cost for just under 5 years! Now they are asking for another 9.5%! This is just beyond belief.

    I really don’t believe that we are costing them more, so where are the additional cost coming from???

    What are the “real cost”, and how much additional staff have they added?

    New buildings?

    Are they increasing our fees before the 2014 health Care Reform fully kicks in?

    Please review this incease and ask them the same questions.

    Thank you:

    Don Schlimmer

  5. Diane Slaughter Says:


    We want to know why your company finds it acceptable to attack the little guy who has to buy their own private insurance? You just raised our insurance rates a huge amount, and now you are preparing to raise them again 9.35%! Why does a company of your size feel they can get by with this? Why do you not raise EVERYONE’s insurance so that the individual buyer for health insurance does not have to pay more than their share of insurance increases???

    Diane & Keith Slaughter

  6. Kim & George Davis Says:

    As small business owners that employee 2 people and pays for our own health insurance, we are frustrated by the continual rate increases by Wellmark. Each April we have to call our insurance agent to change our policy so we can “afford” to keep our family insured. We continually raise our deductible and take less and less benefits so we can pay over $600 a month for a healthy family. We realize that to some $600 is not much, but for self employed individuals paying all other business expenses and employees, it is a struggle to make the payement every month. When will it end? When is it too much and causes struggling families to drop their insurance? Please, enough is enough. Help us.

  7. Mickey and Larry Says:

    Oh Dah !?!?!?!?

    You have to be joking us

    Skipped my yearly physical….. Had to trade off monthly prescripltions, so as to get same renewed by doctor visit, that was unaffordable…… Wife won’t have mamogram, account expense…….. Already have black mark on credit and making specified payments to medical expenses, due to medicl costs…….. Even after deductables and insurance, left with unaffordable costs…… Neglect health care due to expense, insurance premiums have gone up over 100 percent over the past 4-5 years……
    The above, only addresses the statement of premium increases of Welmark. Check their profits and how they have not had to sacrifice as a corporation, then draw your own conclulsions.

    Time to stop caving in. No to increase and yes to shop around, as individuals/companies.

    63/laid off/disgusted

  8. Kathleen Says:

    this is the 3rd or 4th time my rates have been increased in 3 years. I don’t understand how they can expect people to keep accepting these increases.
    They should look at the procedures doctors and hospitals charge and how those costs are passed along to consumers. This is not fair to pass this on to the people who pay the premiums. This is outrageous.

  9. Dick Says:

    Dear Friends:

    I hope you will consider this medical information I am sending, before allowing Wellmark to increase our rates. I will try to attach a copy of the Medicare report of the costs and payments involved in my back surgery on January 13, 2010. Basically, the bill was for $13,995.30. Medicare approved $1,494.25, of that amount Wellmark paid $416.02. At time, my monthly Wellmark insurance cost was $252.80, my monthly cost is now $261.80. It appears that Wellmark paid very little toward my major back surgery and made a profit from my insurance premiums.

    Thank you,

    Dick Wagoner

  10. Beth Says:


    Today the Des Moines Register reports Health insurance for Wellmark individual policy holders rates will be increased approximately 9%. It also reports if your employer pays for your health insurance your rates will not increase by that much.

    This system is ridiculous, I am sick of it!! Why do I as an individual
    policy holder keep getting these astronomical increases? Why is it that as micro business gets no sweet tax deals like the big corporations, get no break on insurance and just keep paying while some citizens are not expected to pay anything.

    I talked to a pregnant 20-21 year old. I asked how much she paid for prenatal care visits and how much it was going to cost to deliver a baby. Her response, it is free. Yep she pays nothing.

    I will not wait for my wonderful form letter from you. Glad your Health care plan is working well for you and your family. Guess I am paying for that also.

    Really don’t know if it is worth having insurance. I heard from a government official that 95% of the people that don’t have health insurance don’t pay any of their hospital bills. Stupid me, I didn’t know that was an option.

    Beth Goedken

  11. Dean Says:

    I just heard on the news that blue cross wants to increase their rates AGAIN! We can’t afford this. They need to quit building new buildings and spending on stupid stuff. Maybe they need to check on the doctors they are paying…an office visit that varies from 115.00 to 120.00 for up to 15min. just to talk? Stupid. These doctors are making over 400.00 an hour, I think we know where
    the money is going and maybe they should start there instead of killing us when I know I do not have the money. We were already trying to decide what to cut and 800.00 a month for health care might be it.

  12. Howard Says:

    The rate increase by Well mark Blue Cross is a course that they have been on for a long time, increased profits, upper managements wages, all the perks they receive at the expense of the policy holders, that have no recourse except to try to find another greedy company to give their money to.
    Their deductibles are increasing all of the time adding even more to what we pay, the dental plan and eye plans are a joke and a big burden to all of us.
    My rates have increased from $290 to $460 in about three and a half years. We cannot afford to line the pockets of the already rich, company and upper management when everyone is struggling so much.
    People are not getting social security raises, employment raises. Taxes are out of control and so are these companies.
    Stop the increases, they don’t deserve them and do not need them.

    Howard Metzger

  13. John and Patricia Says:

    My husband and I have been members of Wellmark for four years. We take our health seriously and always eat right and exercise regularly. Our weights are good, along with very healthy cholesteral and blood pressure readings. But still, we get hit with increasing premiums! What good does it do? We think it is totally unfair to hit us with this. Please reconsider this increase. A rate increase every year is so unfair.

    Sincerely, John and Patricia Bauer

  14. Rebecca Says:

    Please do not increase the rates.

    Rebecca Schneider

  15. Larry Says:

    I just got off the phone with Wellmark and they gave me your number. Because of the increase that BCBS wants because of obesity, I am over 65 so this rate increase does not affect me but it will affect my children. If they put smokers in a group why can’t they do that for obesity? Why can’t I be put in a group that does not have obese or smokers? There are people who do not take care of themselves. I do not want to pay more money for them. Where can I go further with my concerns? I will need to go to the public hearing in December.

    Larry Hibbs

  16. Jane Says:

    AGAIN??? You are killings us out here !!!

    My husband & I (64 yrs/63yrs) worked together as private property managers for the past 20 yrs. Our position was eliminated in Nov. 09 and we have been unable to find new jobs together or separate since then. So, we lived on unemployment for one yr. until that went away. We went months with still no job offers so were forced to file for Social Security and retire early. Unable to afford health ins. we lived without coverage, which added much stress to our already chaotic lives. My husband is a Vietnam Vet and for the first time in his life applied for those benefits. They have been very supportive and gave us peace of mind for his health future. I had to purchase personal ins. which was high enough then, but no they took a $45 raise last yr. NOW, you want another raise!!! I am ashamed of the Politics going on in this GREAT country of ours. We no longer feel like it is “our country” or that we seniors have any influence or respect. Watch out!!! we baby boomers have a very large head count.

    Thank you for letting me vent.

    Jane Walter

  17. Steve Blum Says:

    I feel the same as everyone else: when will it stops. It seems like it never stops. I try to do what i can, I buy generic medications whenever I can. I feel like they are pricing me out of the system. It seems like the less people have the more people are charged. Why does the cost of medical care keep going up? If there was not insurance, would the cost of care be as expensive.

    Just like everyone else.

    Steve Blum

  18. Ernie Says:

    I would like to complain about rate increase.This would
    be over a 40% increase in the last 3 years for me.I believe if they want
    share holders to have more profit quit giving out all money in bonuses.

  19. Lynn Reeves Says:

    I took out a low policy, but this has more than doubled. Even though I have never made a claim. Its still gone up. I have nothing against the company, but they do control health insurance in Iowa. It would not take much more to have a monopoly. Everything is too expensive. I will be dropping my policy. last time I had my deductible jacked up in order to afford the policy. I only have it for catastrophic costs. I’m just going to pay what I can for services without health insurance. I’m paying more for health insurance than I am for my utilities for the year. I imagine I have the same complaint as everyone else.

  20. Mindy Ritzman Says:

    our jobs and wages do not increase. I’m not sure where we are going to get the extra money. Peoples wages do not increase at this rate. Wellmark has already had increases. Maybe hospital administrators and Wellmark should stop taking trips and maybe they can make up the increase in costs. I’m a daycare provider and my husband is retired. We have a high deductible plan to try to lower the costs.

  21. Kathy Gorman Says:

    Has anyone ever suggested, I have never used this insurance and it is going up? I am 58 and never use this insurance. Why can’t the premium go up for those people who use it, not everyone else? Why do the people who don’t use it get penalized? It isn’t fair. It is a sad society we live in.

  22. Raymond Crocheck Says:

    I can’t afford it. Takes my whole pension check to pay for it. Too high priced and I do not use it that much. If they raise it I will have to drop it.

  23. Beth Wittrock Says:

    Beth Wittrock: For a family of four with two young children, this is slap in the face. I wish the Comm would truly consider how this is affecting those of us who do things the right way and do not take government assistance. We do not have a large income, we make less than $50,000. I really wish they will consider the common person who is not taking government assistance. This is pushing us to the point that the middle class may need to.

  24. Beverly Wenzel Says:

    People cannot afford what we are paying today without the increase. They say to go to a higher deductible but we can’t afford the deductible We can hardly afford it now. I am sure the millionaires can but us middle class can’t. You have to have insurance but you have to pay for your kids and bills too. Wellmark should have enough without the increase. With the economy the way it is today we can’t afford it.

  25. Patty De Marco Says:

    My insurance premium going up 7.3% I think that is terrible. I am not able to go to the public hearing. I think it is terrible. I will be 65 in March and will be going on Medicare will this still affect me?

  26. Karen Gombert Says:

    My daughter Jessa received this letter saying her insurance was going up again. I am her mother and pay her insurance every month because she is a college student and can’t afford it herself but its getting to the point that we her parents can’t afford it any more either. Every damm year it goes up, never down. I raise her deductable to keep it around $100( whitch is still too much for a single person) She is a senior and will graduate next May but is going to grad school for 4 more years and we just can’t do it any more. I told her can’t wait til gets a job and can pay herself. So I’m guessing she will go without insurance like many Americans do. And hope nothing happens.i think this country is going to shit and nothing will ever get done. Us middle class families keep getting poorer.Please don’t raise our primiums again, give us working people a break once. PLEASE!!!!!

  27. Debra Jorgensen Says:

    I got a letter today about the possibility of Wellmark raising its premiums starting April1, 2012. I am against this. I am a widow and have a limited income. I urge you not to raise health insurance premiums. My husband and I have always paid for our own health insurance and have paid high premiums, not that I’m alone and don’t have his income, I cannnot afford to pay high costs of health insurance. Please, please take this into consideration when it comes time to vote. Thank you. Debra Jorgensen, Cherokee, Ia

  28. Virginia Gerloff Says:

    I don’t know how we can afford an increase in premuim for health insurance.
    I had to take Social Security but can’t get medicare yet.Why do we have to pay more so someone gets a raise and the insurance compay can make a biger profit.

  29. Jesse Ginter Says:

    rising health care costs are making it very dfficult to get ahead as a responsible us citizen. also as a business owner giving my employees coverage is being pushed further out of reach.please think twice before making this years increase.there must be somthing we can do together to get these costs under control.thank you for your time.

  30. Doug and Janine Calsbeek Says:

    Allowing the base rate increased proposed by Wellmark will increase the cost of insuring our family. We will likely not drop our insurance, but I predict many will.
    The asking is an increase greater than the cost of living increase, and I doubt very many employers will have the wherewithal to give workers increases in pay or benefits to cover that great a jump in health insurance costs.
    The number of uninsured will grow.
    The U.S. continues to inch toward a single-payer system. The cost of health care and the cost of insuring those increases continues to climb at an unsustainable rate, and we will continue to see the number of insurance companies offering health benefits be reduced.
    I ask that the base rate increase either be disallowed or the increase sought be reduced dramatically.
    Thank you.
    Doug & Janine Calsbeek

  31. Kevin James Says:

    I’m a very small business owner and I need the insurance. I can’t afford this if it keeps going up. In my line of work, my work is not necessary so sometimes people cut my work. I don’t go to the doctor often maybe 3-4 times a year. I really wish there could be another way to go about doing this, but this all I ever hear about things going up, up, up all the time. I need the insurance, but the small guys are starting to hurt here. I want to get the best insurance I can with a reasonable price, but this just keeps going up, up, up. How do you justify that?

  32. Gail Magnuson Says:

    To Whom it may concern:
    I recently heard about a proposed increase by Wellmark of almost 10% to the base price of premiums. Last year we had an increase of over 35% to our insurance cost from Wellmark. You simply cannot continue to let these increases happen! More and more people every day are finding it impossible to afford health care. There is no reason for it- Wellmark is already an extremely profitable business and more greed cannot be tolerated. STAND UP FOR SOMETHING! PLEASE do not let this happen!
    Gail Magnuson

  33. Richard Dalen Says:

    Re: 9.35% Wellmark rate increase. I have a policy with Wellmark BS with high deductible to keep costs down. I am going without checkups that my doctor recommended to help hold cost down for myself and for others as a whole. I am disappointed to see another increase from BSBS. I have no qualms about what I said I firmly believe it. People will have to go without insurance.

  34. Mary Simon Says:

    I just think it is terrible that Wellmark keeps increasing premium insurance premiums. The insurance companies are not loosing anything why should they have their way? This isn’t right. We consumers have to keep paying, doesn’t the consumer have rights? They are trying to stop health care reform. They are trying to make a windfall. I wish you would look into their profit margin over the last 20 years and 10 years. Thank you

  35. Dr. James Steer Says:

    When was the last increase? They are proposing a 9.5 increase. I am not seeing the benefit especially when they had an increase 1 year ago. I am against them increasing the rate. They need to prove more than in their letter than an anticipated increase.

  36. Norine Magee Says:

    I will be 65 soon but if Wellmark is going to raise its rates, I would hope they consider those people who have a healthy life style and give them a break. It’s the people that gorge themselves that cause this. Just having a health club membership doesn’t cut it, people have to actually exercise.

  37. Stacie Brass Says:

    I am writing in opposition of Wellmark’s proposed 9.35% rate increase. We’ve been a Wellmark policyholder for several years and our 5 year old little girl has some very serious health problems. Not only have we experienced a double digit rate increase every year for the last several years but Wellmark continues to find ways to avoid paying benefits. We have a $3,000 deductible and will also be paying for treatments as prescribed by her Mayo Clinic neurologist to the tune of $3,000 every 6 weeks out of pocket. Wellmark paid for these treatments for two years but now they are saying its “experimental” so they won’t cover them anymore. We’ve learned that “experimental” is the label they will use when they want to avoid covering a charge. The irony is they recently paid $1,300 for a push chair (wheelchair/stroller) for our daughter that I found on the internet for $450.

    In their literature they disclose a full 62% will go toward profits. Really? Didn’t they have record profits in 2010 already. Wellmark seems to be doing just fine collecting premiums and finding ways to avoid paying claims.

    Stacie Brass

  38. Vickie Pralle Says:

    Please think long and hard before allowing Blue Cross another rate increase.
    There are many of us that have to pay our own policies that are now just getting by, another increase will raise my insurance $75.00 a month! That may not sound like alot to you but thats my grocery money. Please, Please don’t let them do this again! Maybe, they could cut back like the rest of us have had to; no raises, no bonuses, fewer benifits, and top management pay cuts, I swear to God this will mean we can no longer carry health insurance. There will be many other Americans in the same predicament. Please give us aleast a year with no increases, if you check my policy you will see They increased my rates LESS than a year ago.

    Thank You for your time and consideration, Vickie Pralle

  39. Karl Magnuson Says:

    Our rates went up 33% last year. Already, they need another 10%? Perhaps Wellmark could do some budgetary work at the top end of their salary structure.
    I object to an increase of that magnitude. There should be an annual cap on the allowable premium increases. It all starts with health care reform, specifically, the triad of providers,lawyers,and pharmaceutical companies. We should all be able to make a living, but how much is enough?

    Karl Magnuson
    Decorah, IA 52101

  40. Andrea Shaffer Says:

    To Whom it may concern,

    My husband and I are small business owners in eastern Iowa and our children and I are on Wellmark BC/BS. It takes a lot of man hours to cover the costs of our plan even though we have a $5,000 ded. to keep monthly premiums down. I’m not smart enough to tell you how to lower our costs while the cost of health care keeps rising. The reason I’m emailing this today is because we individuals that DO pay our premiums seem to be consistantly paying for the deadbeats that have no problem sucking the government for anything they can get and teaching their children to do the same. As harsh as it may sound, I wish there was a way to limit the freebies to deadbeats to help those of us that pay our way. I know innocent children would suffer if this happened, but, if our government quit handing out welfare, food stamps, medicaid and unemployment, people would have to step it up and survive like the good old days.
    I don’t know that this letter will change anything, but I hope that we small business owner’s can afford to continue paying for coverage.
    Thank you for listening~
    Andrea Shaffer
    Shaffer Automotive, Durant Iowa

  41. LuAnn Short Says:

    To Whom It May Concern;

    Another rate increase? After receiving an 8 percent last year? My husband and I pay for our own insurance at a little over $1000.00 a month, for two of us. By penalizing those of us who pay for our own insurance you may be forcing a great many of us to forgo that insurance. With the ever increasing cost of utility hikes and the cost of feeding our families, where do you think we can make cuts? Why can’t shareholders bite the bullet for a year or two? My husband and I have just cashed in his IRA so we can pay off our semi in the hopes that the gamble of maybe four years without a truck payment will pay off and put him in a newer semi and therefore reduse the cost of repairs. We are not looking to make a fortune in life but we would at least like to have some breathing room between success and failure. Breathing room that will be restricted with a premium increase. We are not asking for a hand out, we pay our bills. What we are asking for is for someone to use common sense in this economy and say enough is enough. Remember, without those of us paying our premiums, insurance companies will go out of business. It didn’t take three years for this economy to get this bad and it will take more than three years to repair it. In the meantime, please, give the people a break.

    Thank you,

    LuAnn Short

  42. lacey lovett Says:

    To whom it may concern:

    I am e-mailing to voice my concern for this increase in the insurance rate. My family and I pay for this out of out pocket and not through an employer, and paing 492.75 right now is a strech as it is. We are a family that does not use our insurance all that much. I myself go only once a year for my yearly exam, possibly twice a year if I happen to have an ifection know as a UTI. My children only go for their year physical for school and well child checks if they are needed. There I am lucky for the fact my children do not get extremely sick. My husband also only goes a couple times a year usually to get an allergy shot, in which I believe we pay for out of our pocket. His employer pays the doctor/office fee if he goes for his physical.
    We are not people who abuse the fact we have insurace. We try to do research if there happens to be something that needs to be done and are not sure how the insurance part works. I understand that the cost of stuff does go up and 18.12 is not as bad as I thought but it will also put more strain on our budget. I really like Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. It is accepted by the doctors we see and covers us the best as compared to other insurance we have looked at and tried. I would hate to have to change due to the fact of not being able to afford it.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider my opinion and concerns.

    Lacey Lovett

  43. Kim Kletschke Says:

    Sirs, this is ridiculous that these insurance companies can just “dial themselves up” profits and increased sales whenever they chose. They know that they have most insureds ‘over a barrel’ by blackmailing you with having no insurance available for previous conditions if you dare to change policies or shop around. I own a small retail business in Sioux City, IA that has been in our family for over 50 years. With tough economic times and decreasing sales year-in and year-out (let alone the devastating effect this summer’s flood has had on the financial ‘health’ of our region), these annual spikes in our insurance costs for the 3 employees we cover are just about to put us out of business. All 3 of us have pre-existing conditions we don’t dare leave ourselves exposed to without coverage. We’re trying to keep the ‘choking’ effect of these premiums to a minimum by having $3800 deductibles.

    It’s high time the insurance giants learn how to do ‘more’ with ‘less’ just like the rest of the business world. If not, the America we know who’s foundation is small businesses is going to be snuffed out. Then let them try to plug in double-digit annual premium increases when all that’s left out there are the unemployed and Walmart part-timers.

    I beg you to stop this craziness at this very moment and give all of us ‘little guys’ a chance to keep a paycheck going home to all of our long-time employees’ families.

    Sincerely yours, Kim Kletschke, co-owner KARLTON’S Clothiers & Tailors

  44. Jeremiah Keltner Says:

    I want to let you know that I appose this increase. I am a struggling college student. My parents pay this premium for me. In the past 2 years I have been to see the Doctor 1 time. They pay $233.00 a month for my insurance. Mom drives a school bus and took a pay freeze this year. Dad took a cut in pay because the construction industry went bad.

    I question why this insurance company needs 9.35% INCREASE. They have not increased my services by any amount at all.
    We all need to tighten our belts. I don’t know how much more my parents can handle for me and I as a full time student cannot pay anything. Would they rather have the 233$ or nothing. I should have quite a credit on my account. 24 months times $233 =5592$ and they want more. Oops I forgot they paid out $80 bucks for my doctor visit.

    this is outrageous.

    Please convey my disapproval to anyone who will listen.

    Jeremiah Keltner

  45. Warren David Greogry & Janet Gregory Says:

    I would like to protest the rate increase. I think it is ridiculous that they are raising the rates again.

  46. Shirley Tupy Says:

    We can’t keep affording the increase. We will have to drop our insurance. We can’t keep affording it. It is just too much.

  47. Steven Blocker Says:

    Wellmark has already raised the prices. No one can afford this. If Wellmark raises my prices, they may as well find me a high paying job also.

  48. Brian Smith Says:

    I am sick and tired of raised rates. You can’t keep raising rates on people who have. I’m tired of having to pay more for this stuff when i don’t even use it. All our money goes towards insurance and taxes. People on Welfare live better than those of us who work 40 hours a week. This will be the third rate increase they will be asking for since I’ve been on it. i only get a raise every three to four years. It most be nice to get a raise every year.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    The rates are outrageous. With the proposed increase its going to be over $80 for my college student to have insurance. We can’t afford to have her on my policy at work (otherwise I would be working to pay for insurance and nothing else). My daughter cannot afford it herself either. Fortunately, she is healthy and does not use and does not need it. And unfortunately, they have increased it multiple times. What are they doing with all this money? Using it to pay for their administrative expenses like the building I suppose. If they go through the increase we will drop it.

  50. Carolyn Hansen Says:

    After receiving my notice of a public hearing regarding Wellmark’s proposed base rate premium increase, I would like to make a comment. I can’t even imagine all the details that go into figuring these rates, but it seems to me that an increase of more than 7% is way out of line, especially since my insurance premium has been rising every year and has gotten to be a pretty hefty figure. I assume this has been happening to most everyone else, as well.

    I believe the whole insurance & medical “business” has grown out of control and needs to be reined in. It’s not about what is best for anyone’s health anymore, but what will put the most money in someone else’s pockets. But that’s a whole other subject.

    Thank you for anything you may be able to do to help with this matter.

    Carolyn Hansen

  51. Iowa Employer Says:

    There is clearly a problem when an insurance company has to raise it’s rates every year while our economy suffers further down each passing year. I don’t think it is because of added cost or use by the insured, But more likely than not the insurance company is loosing more clients due to the lack of employed workers in the state and there are more people having to give up their coverage to maintain a house hold income in this economy. The more the rates go up, the more customers cant afford to keep the coverage and the more the providers loose each year. Everyone has had to make some cuts and sacrifices since the economy tanked in 2008, and I am afraid it is time for Wellmark To make some cuts and sacrifices too. These rate hikes would make since in a strong economic environment but studies have shown that increasing price index in an already stressed economy, only drives the companies into further losses and less revenue. Sadly, I think it’s time for major cuts and sacrifices for everyone and it’s time for the insurance industry as a whole to take it’s share of cuts and sacrifices as well. So if the rates increase, my plan is to stop doing business with Wellmark from a company standpoint and an employer, and take my business else where.

  52. Jessica Clark Says:

    To Whom It May Concern,
    I am writing in response to the new rate suggested and hope that this makes it to the right people.
    Please Mr. or Mrs. Commissioner, I and many others are practically begging you not to approve this increase. Our rate was already increased last year and we can not afford anymore than $390.00 for one person. I have a family of 5 and my kids are currently on Hawki and my husband on Coventry. This year we will have to start buying private insurance for our kids and I cannot imagine how extreme the extra cost will be. My husband is self employed and we have to buy insurance privatley, we do not have the privilege of choosing like many others do. If this premium goes up we may be forced to go without health insurance for our family. To make matters worse I have a baby on the way next year. We make too much money for any kind of assistance but not enough to pay outrageous premiums. For the sake of the families who need coverage, please please please do not approve this increase. I wish there was more I could say to make sure this is not implemented. I am praying that the power of our voices is enough.
    Jessica Clark

  53. Ashley J. Worley Says:

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate
    Iowa Insurance Division
    330 Maple Street
    Des Moines, Iowa 50309

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Sadly, the first time I learned about the proposed 9.35% health insurance rate increase proposed by Wellmark it was in the local newspaper. A few days later, I received the “official” notice in the mail about the public hearing regarding this same issue. I was disappointed I had to learn of this rate increase via the media first rather than directly from my insurance company; however, I am happy to learn that the Iowa Insurance Division will be hosting public hearings about this issue as a 9.35% rate increase is not only absurd, but could be detrimental to many households…including mine.

    Both my husband and I are twenty-something, college graduates, employed full-time. However, neither of our jobs offers health insurance as a benefit of employment. Therefore, we are forced to seek insurance on our own otherwise one illness or injury could bankrupt us. We chose Wellmark because it is one of the few insurance companies that offers a plan to cover routine maternity services as we’ve been discussing starting a family. The premiums we pay now are approximately $450 per month for a $4500/person deductible. With the proposed 9.35% rate increase our premiums would jump to $492.08 per month. Quite simply, we just cannot afford such a rate increase. We will be forced to consider the option of going uninsured if this rate increase does become final decision because $450 per month is already a financial burden for us anyways. I am disheartened to know that I may also have to postpone starting a family due to lack of insurance coverage. It is a sad day in America when finances dictate when responsible, hard-working, Christian adults can/cannot have children…yet that is the very situation I am faced with.

    I beg that the Iowa Insurance Division consider the poor economic conditions when reviewing Wellmark’s request to raise rates 9.35% and consider people like me who cannot afford to continue paying higher, and higher insurance premiums, deductibles, etc. I don’t know any other good/service that would consider attempting to increase their “profits/retained earnings” 22% in todays economic depression. I also want the Iowa Insurance Division to remember that the other “necessary” items such as gasoline, groceries, water, electricity, etc. are becoming more increasingly expensive and consequently will take precedence in my monthly budget to sustain my day-to-day health and well-being. I could go on and on with numerous reasons why a 9.35% rate increase just is not acceptable.

    In summary, I am not in support of a 9.35% rate increase for Wellmark. In fact, I am adamantly against it. My current financial situation just cannot sustain further increases. I desperately plead that the Iowa Insurance Division not allow this (or any other) rate increase for Wellmark Insurance anytime in the near future. I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion on this matter. The Iowa Insurance Division is welcome to contact me at any time via telephone or email regarding my comments.


    Ashley J. Worley
    Birmingham, IA 52535

  54. David Hudson Says:

    I’m registering my disgust with Wellmark’s proposed individual policy rate hike. Annual rate hikes appear to be the norm for this company. I think its outrageous to expect that these hikes are justifiable. What is this company doing about cost containment? I don’t see how the consumer can continue to pay a rate hike every year and still be able to afford insurance. Right now I pay $600/month for coverage for my wife and daughter. I feel like I can’t really be without coverage because of some special situations in our lives, but this is becoming ridiculous.

  55. Matt Reeves Says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am deeply disappointed with Wellmark and their continuing desire to take more of my money. The only reason why we have them for insurance is that they are the only ones that we have found with full maternity coverage. In my opinion, they are using this monopoly to their advantage. It is my opinion that they need to figure out ways to cut their costs instead of continuing to charge their customers more (Such as: we receive mailings from them on a regular basis on health and wellness…well, I’m sure that if they stopped mailing those things that nobody pays attention to anyway, they would be able to charge us less, because they are spending less of our money on things other than health insurance.) There is no reason why they need to increase our rates…if anything, they need to decrease them.

    Thank you for taking the time and the effort to listen to the consumer, it is about time somebody did.


    Matt Reeves

  56. Richard J. Schillig CLU, ChFC, LUTCF Says:

    9.35% premium increase requested by Wellmark is an across the board base increase. I object to across the board increase for policyholders with higher deductible plans available under the health savings account option.

    These policyholders should not be exposed to same increase. Sales of higher deductible plans are generated by incentive of lower premium. These insured’s with higher deductibles carry risks and do not have frequency of claims as a more comprehensive plan. Requesting for consideration of lower premium increase rate for HSA insured’s.

    Richard J. Schillig CLU, ChFC, LUTCF
    RJS and Associates, Inc.
    Bettendorf, IA 52722

  57. Michael Cain Says:

    +++++ Only one comment . . . any increase should be limited to a maximum of 4%. Thank you. Michael D. Cain +++++

    Michael D. Cain
    Harlan, IA 51537

  58. Jerry Kutzner Says:

    They’ve already had a 21% increase and now they need a 9.35% increase. Right now we pay over $800 monthly, plus co-pays and my wife just had radiation. So why do we have to pay the co-pay? It’s something they sneak in. The $30 co-pay costs over $1000. These companies can justify any increase they want; all they do is raise their executive salaries. You can go to any town in the U.S. and the biggest building is always an insurance company that was built on the backs of the little people. I’m not happy with the way things are going in this country and I would join the tea party movement.

  59. Patty Demarco Says:

    I think the rate increase is terrible because last year it went up a lot. I pay now over $1000 a month. I think its discriminating against my age. I take precautionary measures and eat right; why should I pay more? What about the people with families and no jobs? How are they going to pay those rates. Wellmark should have thought about this before building their new building.

  60. Karen Tucker Says:

    I have had Wellmark insurance for many years. I looked back to what I was paying in April 2010 and my premium has increased 50% since then. I can’t think of another thing that I pay for that has increased 50% in the last 18 months. I feel like Wellmark can increase our premiums as much as they want and whenever they want.

    What cost saving measures are they taking to help out their customers? Are they trying to save money anywhere in their company? I think as a consumer I have paid my share of premiums to Wellmark.

    I don’t use my insurance very much. I don’t have any long term illnesses, I don’t take medication regularly and I rarely go to the doctor.

    I don’t understand how Wellmark can justify another increase when the economy is so bad and people are without jobs.

    Please do not approve this rate increase. I know everyone on the site is begging for them to not be approved for the increase but sadly Wellmark will be allowed to raise their premiums. Have they ever been denied a rate increase?


  61. Victoria Hunter Says:

    We buy insurance to protect ourselves and alot of people pay the high premium and rarely use the insurance except for special things. So you are making money from our premiums for all the months that we never draw on them. Sometimes I go just to justify the fact that I pay for it I might as well go to the doctor.

    As for the increase it is extremely high first of all. Why so much for profit? Are you suppose to be in business for a profit? You should make enough to pay the bills and employees. If you have a profit then there would be no need to increase our rate. You don’t know if they are going to raise the medical services or not, that is just a way to increase our rate.

    What does it cost to have all those hearings? Do you really think they are necessary?

    Do you know anyone that is getting an increase in there wage of 9.35%? The government is only giving a 3.6% increase to the elderly. So what justifies your increase. I believe you are just guessing why you need to make a raise and a very, very, high at that. What if everyone raise all there products 10% where would we be then? We would not be able to purchase anything and the world would come to a stop.

    I’m sure that all the objections will not change anything I believe you have already made your decision, or you would not have come up with this number.

    Victoria Hunter

  62. Sharon Hankins Says:

    I can’t make the public meeting for this increase. We just had an increase and now they want another 9%. I don’t think they should be allowed to do it. 3 times in 2 years is too much. I think IID should not allow this increase this time. This is outrageous. Where is this gonna stop? We try not to use our health insurance. I would really appreciate denying this increase.

  63. Anonymous Says:

    they’re talking about another increase. I don’t comprehend this. Between my husband and I, we pay over $1500 a month. Now with the hospital outpatient crap we’re getting screwed, blued, and tattooed. I’m paying over $700 for outpatient stuff. I dont comprehend this. How can we stop this? This so called Obama care bull saying they’re not gonna hike anything – are you kidding me that’s all they’ve been doing? All this out-of-pocket crap is too much. Even with this public hearing, can they really do anything?

  64. Debra Schinzel Says:

    I currently pay over $800 a month for insurance. It scares me to death that I do not know where its going to end. There is only so much people can bare. There has to be a limit to insurance rates. This is killing me. Just trying to pay for what I have to have and make a living on the side.

  65. jack Says:

    The health care industry in this country is not much different then the problems we see in the financial industry summed up as unregulated greed. Consumers are taking the full hit from this inflated industry.
    Do not approve another increase on the premium base.

    Let’s give those who choose healthy lifestyles a break in insurance rates. This could be based on history, physical exams and a recommendation from the physcian.

  66. Lori Says:

    I debated along time about sending an email on the proposed rate increase as I honestly believe that my opinion will not make a difference. It seems to me that the only thing Wellmark is interested in is making profits off the backs of hard working low to middle income people and that the government officials we elected to stop such a misuse of power either don’t care or are unwilling to stand up to such large corporation. When the economy stated slowing, I did what only made sense, I cut costs where I could and gave up things that I really didn’t need (such as renting a movie or the early morning latte). I saw an article where Wellmark had assets of more than 2.1 billion so I’m pretty sure they can afford to give up “the early morning latte”. In closing I want to say this, I have to live on $1200.00 a month and since I need to eat, purchase gas so I can drive to work, pay rent and utilities I created a budget and I stick to it like glue. If a 2.1 billion dollar company can tell me how to go about not buying good or gas so I can afford to pay their increase, I’m willing to listen, but if they can’t I would suggest they cut some costs and try to live on a budget.


  67. Anonymous Says:

    The problem is there is no competition in the market I’m in, which is Burlington, Iowa. There is one insurance company and there is one medical facility. Premiums should not be allowed to increase under this monopoly.

  68. Lou G. Says:

    Dear Advocate,

    I cannot attend the hearing on Dec. 10th, so would like to send my comments now.

    I am 62 yo and been a Type I diabetic for 35 years. I have NO complications and have been wearing an insulin pump for 30 years. Yet it seems to me that the insurance company sees me as very high risk. I have been rated and marked.
    I am healthy. I walk an hour every day. I have lost 30# in the past 2 years. I have not had alcohol in 33 years. And have not smoked for 20 years. My blood sugars are normal. I have not been hospitalized in well over 20 years. Yet I am in the uninsurable category, thus my premiums are so high.

    Right now I am paying Blue Cross $935.00 for just myself per month = $11,220.00 per year. I have a $1K deductible and $3500.00 out of pocket amount. And now it appears BC wants to raise our rates by a little over 7%. That is way too much to spend. That would put my monthly premium at over a thousand dollars.

    I feel I am saving BC money by taking good care of myself, using preventive measures and staying healthy.

    I wish to express for this hearing that this is way out of line, as we have had increases every year almost from BC; and we have been here in IA with them for 8 years. Somewhere there has to be a cap on premium increases. Most people cannot afford this. And the last thing we want to do is be dependent on the state to help us with our medical needs.
    Please encourage them to forget the increase for 2012, if possible; or at least not have it be more than 2%. Our wages are not increasing, in order to be able to meet these exorbitant premium rates.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    Lou G.
    A concerned policyholder

  69. Tim Moore Says:

    Consumer Advocate:

    I just recieved a letter in the mail that states that Wellmark is asking for a rate increase AGAIN. I think its about time to slow this down. It seems to be every year. I have a small business and i cant increase my rates like this and keep any business. I understand that they are in a different business but the public cant just keep changing health insurance companies.

    I’ve been hearing advertising on the local radio stations about some kind of sweepstakes sort of thing that Wellmark is doing and giving away prizes.

    If they have enough money from My premiums to give away a bunch of prizes plus the cost of advertising on radio stations across the state then they do not need a rate increase. I believe this is a waste and a terrible miss use of funds. Wellmark is a health insurance company not Publishers Clearing House. Everybody in this state and country are being forced to make tough financial decisions due to the present economy and I think its time that big companies like Wellmark do the same. Its time for Wellmark to cut back.

    Tim Moore
    Centerville, Ia 52544

  70. John & Linda Witt Says:

    I’m asking for your consideration of the following facts in helping hold down our health care expenses in the future.

    My wife and I are 60 and 61 years of age and in both excellent health and quite active (non-smokers and not overweight}.
    We started with Welmark Blue Cross Blue shield insurance in 2007 with the sale of Maytag in Newton, Iowa.
    We have a $5500 high deductible HSA plan.
    Wellmark has not had to pay out any claims over our deductible since our taking out insurance in 2007.
    Our insurance premiums have increased over 50% since 2007, not including this new proposed rate increase.

    Plan Name:
    Pool 5
    Plan Code:

    Thank you for your help in reviewing this request for a rate increase.


    John & Linda Witt
    Johnston, Iowa 50131

  71. Kathy Says:

    This is regarding the proposed increase of rates of 9.35% that you will be addressing with Wellmark of Iowa. I am truly appalled at the proposed rate increase. Within the last two years we have seen an 18% increase plus 8.5% this year so combining this along with the proposed increase of 9.35%, Wellmark has increased rates nearly 40%! I truly do not know how the Insurance Division, in good conscious can representing the people of Iowa grant this increase. We have no one else to turn to on our behalf, and I would like to encourage the Insurance Division to do the “right” thing for the people of Iowa. I think it’s time Wellmark of Iowa starts doing like the rest of the people in Iowa, and that is to figure out ways to “cut” your costs instead of passing these increases onto their clients. It’s time for a change.

  72. Anonymous Says:

    I’m 60 and healthy and cant afford this. I don’t wanna have to go on welfare because I cant afford health insurance. I feel the strain and am just trying to make it. I think the rate is ridiculous

  73. Julie Fairchild Says:

    I adamantly oppose this. I don’t know where the limit is. I don’t know what good it does to complain; it’s disheartening. Wages have not gone up 10%; why do they need this. If you employer provides benefits, you’re lucky. If you have to pay your own premium of $1200 you get to the point of having to go without. Then the State will have to take care of you.

  74. Anonymous Says:

    I believe they should work with what they have. I’m about to launch a campaign to . Its sad that insurance has worked its way into your life that its now mandatory. That’s not the way it should be. They also lump everyone togeather. You are lumped togeather with people who use their insurance all the time, so you get penalized for those people even if you are not using the insurance.

  75. Steve Harvey Says:

    this deal is really eating at me. Im self employed and have no employees. My daughter is on with me and we have gone up 49% in the first two go-arounds. And now they want another 10%. If I raised my rates by 10%, no one would hire me to do anything. A guy said once that if you double rate and cut your business in half, you get the same money. It seems like that’s what they’re doing. If health wasn’t what it is, I drop it, but you have to it.

  76. Robert Wohlers Says:

    This is insane. I cant believe this happens every year. I think we’re at over 50% increase for the past 2 years. Will it ever stop? I’m frustrated. I’m very opposed to this; its unnecessary and unfair. I’m involved with Wellmark surveys and you cant help but think this is related to their new building.

  77. Wellmark Customer Says:

    Please, no more price increases for Blue Cross Wellmark insurnace. We can’t afford what we have now. Please say NO- No Rate Increase, to them.

    A Wellmark Customer

  78. Marsha Wiggins Says:

    In my newspaper it says, that Wellmark’s assets are up by 2.1 billion. I see no reason for an annual increase with assets like that. Maybe every 5 years. I would also say that sometime people go to the doctor when they do not need to. No one really have control over that, even though I do not. That is one of the reason health insurance keeps going up.

  79. Anita Rassmussen Says:

    I know this isn’t going to do any good, but they cant keep raising the rates cause wages aren’t going up. If it wasn’t for the prescriptions I need, I would drop health insurance because I could pay for everything else out-of-pocket. Im against the increase.

  80. Naomi Hubbard Says:

    I have to work 80 a month just to pay my insurance now. They keep raising it and they have great big buildings and I’m barely hanging on. I only get paid $10 an hour and Uncle Sam take 40% and I pay Wellmark $600. It doesn’t take a math genius to see how much that is.

  81. Anonymous Says:

    I’m single and already paying over $700 a month; I’m unemployed and doing the best I can. I pay close to $9000 yearly. This has to stop. I had a feeling this was going to come again. I had by-pass surgery so no one will take me. I’m stuck with BCBS. BCBS could lower the rate but then they would put riders on my insurance and it would do no good.

  82. Erica Baethke Says:

    I am alarmed at this rate increase. We’ve had a lot of frustration already. We’ve had a lot of rate increases already. We have tried to change our plan and tried to get a representative to visit our home. We only received policy info in the mail. We looked into the matter with a Farm Bureau agent and received a higher premium. We tried to contact Wellmark to inquire why we are high risk and did not receive an answer. We’re self-employed and have never had any issues with our coverage, but they’re not willing to help us in making our insurance affordable. I’m very frustrated and having a hard time understanding what to do about this. I was told to reapply and when I asked questions about filling out the application, one representative gives us advice one way and another gives us other advise. I’m very frustrated.

  83. Toby Kruse Says:

    Good afternoon,

    I am strongly against any rate hikes from Wellmark. As a small business owner, it is already too difficult to make it in todays economy. There is absulutely no reason for another rate hike and I will look other places if this goes thru.

    Toby Kruse

  84. Janet L Says:

    Just FYI- in the last year, BC has paid LESS to healthcare providers for services, having them “eat” most the payment. They raise our premiums ONLY to have more money to themselves, they don’t need it to pay bills, they have been dramatically paying LESS! They need to be stopped! It’d be a huge market for some other insurance to step in on. I have two 9 year olds who haven’t been to the doctor at all this year yet (knock on wood). The premium now is ridiculous let alone raising it.

  85. Chris Wintermute Says:

    Please don’t increase the rates. Individuals have had enough! People will stop dropping insurance because they just can’t afford it, then who will you get your money from. Quit building your fancy buildings. Enough is enough!

  86. Vicki B Says:

    I will be unable to attend the meeting on December 10 but I certainly want my feelings known about this proposal.

    I took out this policy in November 2010 when my husband retired and went on Medicare. My premium until April 2011 was $773.40. In April 2011 in jumped to $839.20 an increase of over $65.00 or around 8.5%. Now a 9.35% increase is being proposed one year later which would increase my policy another $78.46. My entire Social Security check plus another $250 is taken to cover just my insurance premium…….and will require another $78.46 out of retirement income to cover it if this goes through.

    Food prices keep going up. Gas prices increased $.13/gal over night here a few days ago. Power companies are regularly asking for increases in the rates for our gas and electricity. We just got a substantial increase in the property taxes for our very modest home. We’re going to be priced right out of our very modest 44×24 home if something doesn’t change!!!!

    Where are the increases in our income to cover all of these increases in our expenses? We know who IS getting an increase in their earnings and it is at the expense of us. We had some money invested and after all of the years that it was invested we probably can’t even consider that we broke even when considering the inflation. Money in time certificates are earning such pitiful interest. Where does it end?????

    Do these people who make these proposals have any idea of what it is doing to the regular people or do they just not care? When the CEO’s of these companies are earning the millions of dollars for themselves they lose complete touch with the real world. And I see the breakdown of the proposed increase of premium shows that over half of the proposed increase is to go to profits and investors!!!!!!! It would be frustrating enough if the entire 9.35% were going to be applied to “Medical services”………….but 62% going to profit or retained earnings???? I can’t begin to put into words how upsetting this is!!!!!! Tell BCBS to start in their own house by taking no or at least much lower bonuses or are we to continue being told that the rich get richer and the poor just try to survive?

    Vicki Boddicker
    Norway, Iowa

  87. Elizabeth Kilgard Says:

    Wellmark likely uses an actuary to identify the likelihood of the health care needs of individuals based on an individual’s age and health history. In addition an actuary could also provide information on the likelihood of increases in administrative expenses and medical services. Thus, Wellmark would need to budget for these likely expenses and pass the cost on to its consumers. However, the proposed 22% increase in the base rate for profit is excessive. My monthly retirement assets as well as my investments for future retirement needs is not likely to increase 22% considering the current economy situation in our country. Many responsible Americans are out of work, have reduced incomes, or living on a fixed income. They are cutting expenses in order to meet their needs. Does Wellmark need a 22% increase in the base rate for profit when at the end of 2010 the company had over one billion dollars in reserve? This reserve amount is an increase of 9.2% in reserves over 2009. Most Iowans would love an increase in assets of 9.2%. If a rate increase is granted, it should be without the 22% increase for profit.
    In addition, Iowans and all Americans need to understand the impact of the full implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). Without competition private health insurance plan costs will continue to rise.

  88. Randy & Mary Says:

    When is a person considered obese? How many pounds over weight? The scale tips to Wellmark advantage.

  89. Terry Says:

    Let me say at the onset that I understand the need for rate increases, be they insurances, groceries or haircuts. My concern is the amount of increase! Wellmark is THE prime example of excessive rate increases. As noted by many others, this 9.35% will push Wellmark premiums upward to 40% during the past three years (personally, mine will be nearly 46%). While the average rate last year may have risen only 8.5%, mine went up 13%. Why, I ask? Probably because Wellmark pays 20% of my prescription drug cost – a whopping $2.00 every three months!

    The exploding cost of medicine just doesn’t hold water. Are we to believe the medical profession has experienced annual inflationary costs of nearly 10%, while those on Social Security are getting only 3% because the economy is anemic and inflation has been low during the past year. Should we believe that every other industry in this country isn’t paying more to their suppliers, yet are able to maintain with only modest increases? Why is it only the health insurance industry is experiencing this massive inflation in cost? My experience doesn’t point to my doctor or my pharmacist.

    Wellmark says 88% of my premium goes to paying Health Care Services. In my case it’s only half of one percent. I wonder how many Iowans actually have medical bills that exceed their annual premiums. Perhaps these people should be in a “pool” of their own.

    There are 24 other companies licensed to sell health insurance products in Iowa, are they all asking for they same 40% over three year hike?

    Wellmark assets are up a quarter billion dollars. I find it ludicrous that Wellmark denies premiums are not used to increase those assets. Whether those premiums contribute directly or indirectly, such as earning from investments, they are financing the corporations increasing wealth.

    Any increase by Wellmark (or other agency) should be limited to a CPI based on treatment charges at Iowa hospitals and clinics. I doubt such CPI would show 40% increase in just 3 years.

  90. Nancy Stammer Says:

    Once again, I would like to protest the Wellmark rate increase. Once again, MY salary has not gone up – in fact, it has been frozen for 2012. I will have to learn to live within the same budget as I did in 2011, even though food, utility, clothing, housing, transportation, and other prices have continued to rise.

    We have been told that the new building has actually saved money for Wellmark. How about using those savings to offset their increased costs, and not force higher prices on the consumers? We cannot afford another 9.35% increase after the 2010 and 2011 price hikes!

    Nancy Stammer
    Manning, Iowa

  91. Luke Wittrock Says:

    Please consider this email my vote to oppose the rate hike proposed by Wellmark. You can’t just keep raising the rates year after year with no increase in coverage. The insurance company I work for has never had rates increases and wellmark rates get higher each year. When will it stop?? When no one can afford health insurance anymore. The average working american is not getting the raises to match rate increases. They need to get more creative with their solutions instead of just making me pay more

    Luke Wittrock

  92. Wendy Harms Says:

    I am writing in response to the letter I received regarding the 9.35% increase to my insurance premium. I think this is outrageous! When I was divorced 11 years ago, I was unable to get my children on my policy at work because it is not an open enrollment health plan. My insurance agent told me the only way to cover my kids was to get a family plan in my oldest daughter’s name. The premiums weren’t too bad until my oldest daughter reached 19 and then the policy premium increased dramatically. I currently have two college age dependent children for which I am paying $600/month for health insurance. I also pay a portion of my health insurance through my work plan and my husband is self-employed and has a policy that he pays. We are a middle class family and I feel like I am working, so my children can have insurance. Another increase will probably put by kids policy close to $700 or more, per month. The average American cannot afford these rates! Insurance companies need to take a look at themselves and the large salaries and huge bonuses they give to employees and start looking out for the welfare of their customers!

    Wendy Harms

  93. Vicki Boddicker Says:

    I will be unable to attend the meeting on December 10 but I certainly want my feelings known about this proposal.

    I took out this policy in November 2010 when my husband retired and went on Medicare. My premium until April 2011 was $773.40. In April 2011 in jumped to $839.20 an increase of over $65.00 or around 8.5%. Now a 9.35% increase is being proposed one year later which would increase my policy another $78.46. My entire Social Security check plus another $250 is taken to cover just my insurance premium…….and will require another $78.46 out of retirement income to cover it if this goes through.

    Food prices keep going up. Gas prices increased $.13/gal over night here a few days ago. Power companies are regularly asking for increases in the rates for our gas and electricity. We just got a substantial increase in the property taxes for our very modest home. We’re going to be priced right out of our very modest 44×24 home if something doesn’t change!!!!

    Where are the increases in our income to cover all of these increases in our expenses? We know who IS getting an increase in their earnings and it is at the expense of us. We had some money invested and after all of the years that it was invested we probably can’t even consider that we broke even when considering the inflation. Money in time certificates are earning such pitiful interest. Where does it end?????

    Do these people who make these proposals have any idea of what it is doing to the regular people or do they just not care? When the CEO’s of these companies are earning the millions of dollars for themselves they lose complete touch with the real world. And I see the breakdown of the proposed increase of premium shows that over half of the proposed increase is to go to profits and investors!!!!!!! It would be frustrating enough if the entire 9.35% were going to be applied to “Medical services”………….but 62% going to profit or retained earnings???? I can’t begin to put into words how upsetting this is!!!!!! Tell BCBS to start in their own house by taking no or at least much lower bonuses or are we to continue being told that the rich get richer and the poor just try to survive?

    Vicki Boddicker
    Norway, Iowa

  94. Marta Barnard and Chad Branham Says:

    To Whom it May Concern:

    We are writing to ask if you can possibly be listening at all to what is happening in the world right now? Occupy Wall Street? Occupy All Insurance Companies! Absolutely do not allow Wellmark to raise their rates AGAIN. We struggle to make the premium payments, have an astronomical deductible and no preventative care. As self employed workers, this is the best deal we can find in Iowa and it is abysmal. DO NOT let them raise our rates, please.

    Marta Barnard and Chad Branham
    Spirit Lake Iowa

  95. Sherrie Day Says:

    My name is Sherrie Day. My husband Wally and I have a small business in Burlington, Iowa. We currently have a policy that has a very high deductible. We also cover our 20 year old so as well. So for our family of 3 our current premium is $1728.55 OR $20,742.60 annually. Our daughter has a single policy and currently pays $693.95 per month or $8,327.40 annually. Thus for a family of four we pay $29,070.00 per year. Now with the proposed increase that figure would be $31,788.05, are you kidding? We cannot afford that. Some people don’t even make that in a year let alone just paying that for insurance. In addition, if we have to use it, we also would have to satisfy another $9000.00 as a family in deductible on top of the premium and the 20% co-pay plus $20 for every Dr. visit as well. This is just not possible. Every year we get an increase and every year we are told to look at some of the other offers Wellmark has and every year we choose a higher deductible and still have increases. Eventually we will have to drop insurance and go it alone. We will probably have to look at state aid or some other kind of alternative.

    In the second paragraph of the notice of public hearing, Wellmark states that the 9.35% is an increase in base rate and that our actual premium may go up or down. (I have never in my 40 years of paying for insurance had a premium payment go down, it has always been the opposite.) And especially the premium has gone up if we have had any kind of claims.

    Please stop them from this increase.

    Let us know if you need any additional information from our family.

    Sincerely, The Day Family, Burlington, Iowa

  96. Sharon Irlbeck Says:

    My letter says it is going up $660 I am living on $1400 per month. I have a preexisting condition. I can’t afford another increase. My policy doesn’t pay for flu shots or mammogram. Something needs to stop this.

  97. Nancy Moffit Says:

    I am a 60 yr old widow and have been with BCBS for 7 years. My premium increases every year with my age. I increase deductibles to keep cost down. I am afraid if the premium keeps going up I will need to cancel. I work part time and my wages does not cover the premium.

  98. Teresa Uhl Says:

    I am spending $600 per month and my husband passed away and this will be hard for me to pay. I have diabetes and am 62 yrs and run 6 miles and do not have complications.

  99. C.T. Says:

    I am writing concerning the raise in rates that Blue Cross Blue Shield has asked for. I truly believe that this much of a raise is extremely high considering the economy. I am my husband are on Social Security no raise for several years. My daughter is a teach, fighting to hold her job let alone any huge increase in wages. My son-in-law is in construction, fighting to hold his own – last fall/winter NO WORK – they and their two children lived off of my daughter’s part-time teacher wages. Another daughter is just starting her Chiropractic business, hanging by a thread – with starting the business and paying the huge student loans–her husband works for Wendling Quarries, this year they have to travel to other areas during their work time as there was no work available in his plants area. There are more in my family struggling just as much. I help out at the local food pantry which has more clients each month, with less low cost food available. I, my community, my church are donating more and more as we are able – to help just those in our own community due to the raising prices and fewer jobs – or jobs that pay less and have less hours.
    We even have a part-time meal site open due to a real need in this small community. Please consider all of this before you decide that the insurance world needs to raise it’s price for a greater monetary interest for their company or stockholders. (Something has to be done to hold down – doctor office costs, hospital costs, pharmacy costs and Insurance costs).

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


  100. Rodney Fortune Says:

    I oppose any rate increase by Wellmark on any policy that they have that will not allow the policy holder some remedy to keep coverage affordable in some way!!!

    My wife and I retired two and one half years ago, partly due to health reasons. When we retired our monthly premiums were about $980.00 per month. Now they are $ 1,720.00 each month. We have NO OPTIONS!! We are both uninsurable. In April of 2011 I contacted Wellmark and asked to raise my deductable to something that would allow me to afford to pay premiums. Wellmark informed me that I no longer had any right to change anything because I am no longer a Resident of the State of Iowa. They told me I had to find a way to pay the higher premiums now and in the future or they would cancel my coverage. NO OPTIONS!!

    I was born in Iowa. Raised in Iowa. Worked and paid taxes in Iowa for nearly 40 years. I have had Wellmark/Blue Cross as a group insurance and finally, the last 15 years, as an individual family policy for my health insurance. My policy is old, outdated with limited or no coverage for care and procedures that the new contracts include. I am already paying 3 times what a new customer would pay and my benefits are not as comprehensive. My wife and I have been insured with Wellmark most of our lives and have no other options. Now because we moved we have no rights or options at all!!

    Please help everyone in Iowa who is insured by protecting our rights to affordable health care. No rate increases while discrimination continues against the unfortunate who become uninsurable. We already pay 3 times the rate new customers would pay. NO MORE!! If we are forced to go without affordable insurance, the burden will be on the States to pay for our ininsured expenses. We want to pay our way. We just want the companies to be fair.

  101. Tony Halverson Says:

    What is this about the Wellmark rate increase? If these rates keep going up I will have to drop this. This is getting ridiculous; I can’t increase my charges 10%. I own a business and I can’t raise my rates like this. None of the sites are near me they are over 1 ½ hours away from me. I already have a high deductible and can’t afford this.

  102. Harry Rupe Says:

    A few things in this letter are disturbing. For example, Wellmark is asking for an increase because it “believes” the health care costs will rise. It’s one thing to pass the cost to consumers after there is an increase, but another to do so because it “believes” the costs will rise.

    Another thing is that 22% of the increase is going to Wellmark’s profit. I think that’s wrong. I understand the need to break even, but this is greedy. My wife and I are in the lowest risk group, but our rates will go up because of other claims. When is enough going to be enough? They already have a good profit. I am planning on attending the meeting and calling Wellmark. This is frustrating. I’ve tried my entire life to pay my own way; I could go without health insurance but that’s not me. I know I need health insurance but they don’t make it easy.

  103. Jennifer Walker Says:


    For the upcoming public hearing, I have two questions:

    1) How much are other providers (e.g., United Healthcare) increasing their rates by this upcoming cycle?

    2) Being new to this policy, what is the history of policy increases over, say, the past 10 years? It would be nice to have these numbers broken down similar to the Notice of Public Hearing: medical services, administrative expenses, and profit/retained earnings.

    Many thanks,
    Jennifer Walker

  104. Randy Kafer Says:

    I am responding to voice my concerns about the proposed 9.35% base rate increase costs to my health insurance with Wellmark this coming April 1, 2012.

    I have been a Wellmark customer for over ten years. I have paid my premiums every month and paid the 8% increase rate from last year. I had to raise my yearly deductible to $5,000 dollars in order to lower my premiums to continue affordable coverage. Now, I am on a skeleton policy in order to afford coverage and facing another rate increase.

    I am a healthy 51 year old man who served my country in the U.S. Army for six years and I do not meet the government eligibility list for Veteran’s health benefits. I have no available health insurance through my employment or through my wife, who has been unemployed due to a disability for the past 11 years. We are outraged with the increase in premiums each year. We have no one else to turn to on our behalf, and would like to encourage the Insurance Division to do the “right” thing for the people of Iowa. I think it is time Wellmark of Iowa figures out ways to “cut” costs instead of passing these increases onto struggling consumers.

    My questions for the Division to consider when representing Iowa are: Why increase premiums on healthy people who file low cost claims or no claims? Do we need more supervision & regulations over insurance companies to protect the consumers? Do insurance companies have to much power with pooling comsumers into high cost ratings? What about tenure consumers who have been with Wellmark for ten years? Why are my deductibles not vanishing each year if no accidents like Allstate Auto Insurance Commerical!

    Randy Kafer

  105. Derek De Haan Says:

    There is a portion of the letter that Wellmark is asking for an increase because of they believe there will be increased costs for the 3 factors. My other concern is why 62% of the projected increase is for their profit and retained earnings. What is the history of the commissioner denying the increases? How does responsible consumer protect themselves from this?

  106. John Norwood Says:

    Dear Insurance Commissioner:

    I am an individual policy holder with Wellmark. I have been on an individual plan since 2005 or 2006. My question has to do with how Wellmark forms its insurance pools. Several years ago, as an existing Wellmark customer I was told by my insurance agent that I could actually get my rates to go down by re-joining Wellmark as a new customer. A bit puzzled at first, I was told this is because the existing pool I was in was getting more expensive as relatively healthier insureds left the pool to join group or other plans. The sicker customers, who were stuck with their existing plan perhaps because they were unemployable, were essentially “captives” of the more expensive pool.

    This made little sense to me from a customer perspective. Usually, one would think long-term customers are treated at least as well as new customers, if not better. So, I did in fact re-apply and my rates went down! What I’m wondering is why the state doesn’t require Wellmark to just throw all of its insureds into one big pool. Spread the risk across the entire base of insureds vs. this game playing and sticking it to the sickest customers on individual health plans.

    With a near monopoly in the state, Wellmark is in an excellent position to spread the risk. Yes, some folks would otherwise see their coverage go up modestly because now the risks are being born more widely, but it sure would seem like a more equitable and less onerous way to spread the risk. Wellmark might also eliminate some administrative complexity and achieve cost savings in the process by eliminating incentives and the associated paperwork to re-join plans, as well as create and monitor all of these company and individual pools.

    I’d appreciate any light you can shed on the practice of insurance pooling, and potential anti-competitive behavior and price fixing practices that may result from adverse selection practices. Perhaps there is leverage that the state can apply, based on the equitable treatment of all policy holders from an insurance regulatory standpoint?

    Many thanks,

    John Norwood
    1611 Green Branch Circle
    West Des Moines, IA 50265

  107. Debbie Herrington Says:

    I sincerely hope my insurance does not go up AGAIN. I am currently paying an insurance premium of $1400/month for my family of 6 and can barely meet other basic living expenses which include our house payment, electricity, water, and food. It is really becoming difficult for those of us who are middle class, tax paying citizens to caring the burden of all the welfare recepients. People without insurance still get seen by Drs. in my community, so what is my incentive to want to carry insurance, let alone pay another increase for it?

  108. Mary Jane Michaels Says:

    I would like to join the long list of people questioning why Wellmark is needing to increase rates for people who have independent plans and do not have coverage through an employer. My husband is self-employed and within 2 years of having his insurance plan the rate has gone up $30 per month. We would like to know why a rate increase is needed, what the increase will be used for, and where the administrative money comes from. We have a friend in the insurance business and we marvel each year at the vacations his company sends their management employees on each year. This year he and his wife will be traveling to Hawaii at the company’s expense and he now gets to travel on the jet his company just bought. I would like to know if the losses in investment income Wellmark experienced is being off set by rate increased? Also, like my husband, most people who have independent policies do not abuse the health care system. This is due to the high co-pay and the high deductible. He recently sustained a re injury to his heel cord at work and rather than see our doctor, we managed his pain and swelling at home. I very much would like answers to the questions stated in this comment. Thank-you for taking time to read this and all the other comments.
    Mary Jane Michaels
    St. Ansgar, Iowa

  109. Marcia Estes Says:

    Dear Iowa Insurance Division

    I am writing in response to the 9.35% increase you want to give us. I don’t think it would be wise to increase insurance premiums for Iowans as we are already struggling to pay the last insurance increase last year. The economy is horrible and everything is going up but people’s income. The price of medical insurance is well past what the average Iowan can afford. It is to the point that we have to choose between feeding our family or having health insurance. It was at that point a few years ago and it just gets worse. Give us Iowans who are low income but who can’t get government assitance a break. We are working our butts off with 2 or 3 jobs just to support our family let alone try to pay health insurance. We can’t afford any more expenses. Please I beg you please don’t hurt us anymore than we are hurting please have a heart. Vote down the insurance increase please, I beg you on my knees if I could be there please don’t increase our rates.


    Marcia Estes

  110. Ken Teagg Says:

    I like Wellmark a lot but last year I had an increase from $490 to $619. Nobody has control on anything. I am on disability and would love 26% increase. Maybe they should quit building these temples, it seems like someone is being paid off to allow these increases.

  111. Rick Langland Says:

    I can’t afford a rate increase. I am a middle aged farmer and my rate increases but my income does not go up. If they are going to increase rates they need to find away to increase my income. You can’t afford to have insurance and you can’t afford not to have it.

  112. Jan Bier Says:

    I would just like to make a few comments on the proposed rate increase before the Iowa Insurance Commissioner. My husband and I have had our health insurance through Wellmark for over the past 10 years. During the fall of 2007, our son became very ill from fungal pneumonia and spent 2 months in the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and for 5 days, he was on life support. As you can imagine, the medical bills were staggering. We were fortunate that we had health insurance; there were many children in the hospital whose families did not. At that time, I made a comment that I would never complain when writing the check for the health insurance premium, and I still make that comment.

    However, it appears that Wellmark is jumping the gun on this proposed rate increase. In a letter received from Wellmark last week, it was stated that “it (Wellmark) believes (emphasis added) there will be increased costs for the three factors that make up an insurance rate: medical services, administrative expenses, and profit or retained earnings.” While these costs may in fact increase, it is unknown at this time if they will and if they do, to what degree. We live in an economy where everything is more expensive; it’s a fact. However, we don’t just get a raise every time the price of a gallon of milk goes up, or the price of gas for that matter. I don’t believe that premiums should be increased based on hypothetical thinking, especially when it may affect whether someone can afford their health insurance after such an increase. People are just barely hanging on, and this may be the “straw that breaks the camels back” for some. It may be either health insurance or food on the table and gas in the car to go to work, if, in fact, they have a job. Please don’t make that choice for them by approving this increase.

    I would ask that you require strict PROOF of Wellmark for these theoretical increased costs, BEFORE any further premium increase is approved. Thank you for your time.

    Jan Bier

  113. Marc Haffner Says:

    I will unable to be present at the public hearing concerning the proposed rate increase to my health insurance, but I do need to express my concern and anger. First off I believe that the entire medical field is outlandishly charging the consumer for goods and services. Every year medical insurance is getting farther and farther out of reach for more Americans because the executives running these companies are more concerned with profits, stock increases, and “designer” drugs than the well being of their fellow man. Currently I am seperated from my wife and she has insurance through her workplace where she pays only a portion of the premium and she thinks shes getting a deal at $300/mo for her and our two boys. I pay at portion of her premium and my own and if this rate increase passes, I’ll be forced to drop my coverage so I can pay for one of my sons.
    I find it ridiculous that 91% of the proposed rate increase is going to cover providing care services to policyholders! What has changed that you feel the need to increase coverage costs? Too many people turning in claims and taking a bigger bite out of profit margins?
    I could go on and on but I’m not going to. Plain and simple, if this rate increase is approved I will be forced to cancel my policy.

    Thank you for your time,
    Marc Haffner

    • Vicki B Says:

      We must get different letters. My letter said 62% of the proposed increase of 9.35% was going to go for “profit and retained earnings”. The majority of the increase on my policy was going to go into their pocket and not for helping my coverage.

  114. Lorri Thomsen Says:

    I am VERY VERY UPSET over ANOTHER premium increase from Wellmark!

    I am handicapped and the policy that I purchased is NO LONGER sold through them! They want to keep raising my premiums until I cannot afford insurance through them! I pay $690 a month for just ME! This is just another way for the big CEO’s to get richer!!! Take from the poor and make them even poorer! No wonder our country is falling apart! I say let the Executives take the 7.03% in PAY CUTS and see if they are willing to accept that!!!!! The cost of health care is out of control!

    I take a blood thinner for the 3 DVT’s that I had as a result of a botched surgery! NOT MY FAULT! But, Wellmark sure wants me to PAY for the DOCTOR’s mistakes!!! I pay my premium every month and have a blood test once a month. My health is otherwise good! Why does Wellmark feel they can keep raising the premiums? They are just like WALL STREET….give me give me give me. And at what cost? Making sure that more Americans have NO INSURANCE just so they can get richer! They should all have to take the same in pay cuts as they are asking us to pay everytime they want an increase!


    Lorri Thomsen

  115. Harold Beckner Says:

    I don’t know how often and long we can keep up with these increases. We currently pay $1300 as a small business owner and with a 7% increase I don’t know how much longer we can keep it up. I know they’re a business and trying to make a profit too but something else needs to be done.

  116. JoAnn Zager Says:

    I think Wellmark is an unfair company, but I have been stuck with them. i have been so careful with everything including going to the doctor. I was in an accident and now Wellmark will not pay for anything that has to do with Ortho, so I have to pay for all of that out of pocket. I don’t trust them. I think they make too much profit. I hope that whoever is in charge looks at their request and really see’s if they are charging for promoting their products.

    Trust is a big thing and I don’t trust Blue Cross Blue Shield. I’m stuck until get old enough to go on Medicare. If it keeps getting higher, I will have to go to a $10,000 deductible. I basically have this insurance just as catastrophic coverage.

    Say no to the rate increase.

  117. Marjorie Feilen Says:

    I don’t understand how they can increase the rates that high. It is just ridiculous. I can’t see how they can go that high. I have done everything I can; I have raised my deductible and changed plans. I have worked all my life and the business I worked for closed then I lost my husband. I can’t afford this.

  118. Charles Buresh Says:

    To Whom it May Concern

    Just received your letter of a Premium Increase This is a joke cause it is probably cut & dry. It is time for you Individuals look out for the older people and young people, Every year a raise.

    Economy is tight and alot of people with out Jobs sure wish you would reconsider the Raise. Not that it will do any good.

    Thank you

    Charles Buresh

  119. Diane Mooberry Says:

    Dear Consumer Advocate:

    I am wrting about the proposed Blue Cross Blue Shield increase of 9.35% effective 4/1/12.

    I am totally against this increase and do not think it is justified at all. I was very disappointed with the Commissioner’s decision last year.

    Here is the data on my personal policy since 2007——it is unbelievable.

    1-1-06 to 4-1-07 320.00 per month
    4/1/07 337.90 per month 5.6%
    4/1/08 404.60 per month 19.8%
    4/1/09 445.10 per month 10.1%
    5.1.10 543.10 per month 22%

    I also have large deductibles on my plan as well as out of pocket expenses.

    We need help in keeping these premium increases down——-salary increases for consumers cannot keep up with this.


    Diane Mooberry
    Osage, IA 50461

  120. Vernelle Nicoll Says:

    Iowa Insurance DIvision Consumer Advocate:

    A few days ago we heard on the news that Social Security Benefits would go up 3.6% at the 1st of the year. First time for an increase in years! A few days later I get a letter from my Wellmark Insurance Co. that a “proposed base rate increase” of approx 9.35% would go into effect on April 1st, 2012. A year ago in October I got a “proposed base rate” increase of 9.75% that went into effect on April 1st, 2011. In a 12 month period, that is an increase of 19%! Adding $58.77 a month to my policy. How shameful!! It isn’t difficult to do the math & see why we American’s do not need to wonder what will happen to our country. As the saying goes “the hand-writing is on the wall”. What a pity!!!

    Thank you for your time & letting me comment on this critical issue.

    Vernelle Nicoll
    Chester, Ia

  121. Mary Ann Says:

    I’m against it. In May of 09 we paid $314 a month, then in April of this year its up to $566. If you look at the prices over a couple of years its gone up over $200. It just goes up all the time. Especially when you don’t use your insurance, like we do. There should be some sort of discount. Especially when your on a limited income.

  122. Anonymous Says:

    To Whom it May Concern:

    The rates are getting ridiculous. You do not charge as much as a lot of companies, but you are making a stress on our income. The rates have increased but my wages have not. Not a raise for 4 years. The food on my table gets less and less and have lack of sleep to figure out on how I am going to make ends meet. This is not the only bill I have. I have a high deductable as it is the only way I can halfways afford it, but I do have other medical expenses because of it.

    i am sure you people don’t lack any sleep or funds as you made 100 times more a month than I do, so you don’t have to worry. Wish I could afford to go to one of these meetings, but I can’t.

    Please reconsider what you are doing for the lower middle class and poor people. Making it worse instead of better.

    This probably will not do any good, but at least I tried.

    Thank you.

  123. Julie McCann Says:

    I do not feel you should let Blue Cross have another increase in the insurance rates.My husband & I are 64 and paying $1368.00 a month now that is over $16000.00 a year. I don’t know how they expect people to to pay these rates year after year.We had a heart attack mine 17yrs ago my husband 14 years ago and we have been paying for that for years.We have not have any major claims since then. We have tried to get on a higher deductable to lower our rate but they turn us down everytime saying we are high risks although we only had one major claim in the 25 years we have had their insurance.I feel they are gouging people now and they want more. Let the people working for them making the big money take a cut in pay instead of raising their rates again.Thank you for your consideration in this matter

    Mike & Julie McCann

  124. Deb Wilson Says:

    Attention: Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate

    I am writing in response to the proposed base rate premium increase.
    I’m 60 years old, widowed, self employed, and having a very hard time trying to keep up with expenses. I pay $139.00 mo., but have a $7,000.00 deductible, plus 80/20. I am not old enough for Medicare and too old to be real healthy, catch 22. I definitely think the Insurance is high enough, way too high!!! I have been afraid to even go to the doctor for 6 years now for any reason, because I know my rates will go higher, but they always do anyway. The bottom line is that if they keep raising the rates, I will have to give up my health insurance, then what, they take everything I have if I get sick. This health insurance is a national disgrace, we are worse than 3rd world countries. I can not believe they are hurting for money when I see doctors with 5 and 6 homes across the country and nurses making $40-60 and hr. The medical profession and the insurance companies need a reality check on what it is like in our world. Who would have ever thought that health insurance would take the lions share of our paycheck, if anyone can afford it in the 1st place, I know many people who can’t even think about getting health insurance. After my husband died, so went the insurance, I tried Cobra, $365.00 mo. Then I went to American Family, who started me out at a reasonable rate and within 4 mo. had almost doubled it. So I went 3 of the most frightening years of my life without any insurance, now my Co. is constantly trying to raise rates every year. The sad thing is no matter how many letters, or how many people have to drop their insurance, they will still keep on raising rates, we are all being held hostage.

    Deb Wilson

  125. Ellen T. Says:

    To: Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate

    Please consider my comments and questions to at the public hearings re: 2012 rate increases for single insurers. Thank you.

    Situation: I am divorced and paying health care out of my own pocket. I make $8.50 hour or $8,992 year. My wages have not increased since 2008 but my premiums already cost one-half of what I earn. The city I work for won’t let me on their group plan because I unable to work more than 20 hours a week.

    In 2010 I paid $4552.07 for health care costs which included monthly premiums of $348.75 plus 1 mammogram, 2 routine dentists exams, and 1 routine eye exam. I have had no major illnesses and have seen no rates comparable to the $210 the Kaiser Family Foundation quotes for single insurers. I was paying $290.55 when I first bought my policy.

    If my premiums go up I will be paying an ADDITIONAL $217.44 which will bring my yearly premiums to $4025.64. If I spend the same amount on dentist and eye routine exams my total will be three-fourths of my income in 2012 and my wages will be unchanged at $8,922 year.

    Please address my individual concerns. Thank you.

    Why are individuals’ singled out for this increase when they are already paying the highest premiums? Why is the increase not across the board to group plans as well?

    Is 25%+ profit necessary for Wellmark to continue in business? ($4.07 goes for earnings from the $18.12 monthly increase). We have no alternative and the rates go up substantially every year. If this is going to continue every year it makes more sense to take our health care premium money and buy stock in the only health insurer Iowa has.

    Why can’t some of this money go to refer single-policy holders to group plans that will accept them run by associations, cities and towns, non-profits, or Wellmark group policies? Experience shows government-run health care fails everyone but private enterprise needs to offer group plans to everyone.


    Ellen T.

    Cc: Senator Charles Grassley

  126. Betty McFarland Says:

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I am writing in response to a letter I received about Wellmark BlueCross Ins. Co going up on their premiums again.

    I’ve had Blue Cross Ins. for years, and every year almost it has gone up. My health is right at $466.60 a month. That takes a big chunk out of one of my paychecks, a month now.

    I get pd. every two weeks and if my hrs hold steady, i will make appromatty $600.00, two weeks.

    When you take my health ins. out of that, it doesn’t leave much for my other bills, & food.

    I’ve cut my trips to the Dr. down. I’ve had breast cancer about 14 years ago, and I have regular Dr. checkups + other regular Dr checkups. I don’t go to a Dr unless it’s very necessary.

    I can prove what I make a month & have to live on. I just really can’t afford another raise in their ins. this year. I will try to attend the meeting to be held here in Red Oak on Dec. 10. I’m not sure about that yet.

    I just know that I’m not alone in these feelings, on the raise.

    Thank you for the opptunity to at least voice my thoughts.

    Thank you,

    Betty L. McFarland
    Red Oak, IA

  127. Jennifer Clark Says:

    Will not be able to attend but do CONTEST the increase. Will spend time researching for cheaper insurance from another company.

    Jennifer Clark
    Davis City, Iowa

  128. Todd Jafvert Says:

    To the Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate:

    I find Wellmarks request for a rate increase both insulting and unjustified for several reasons.

    1. They just received a rate increase in February and are now just 8 months later asking for another 9.35%. Uncalled for.

    2. Why are they targeting approximately 70,000 individual policy holders and not the other one million plus group policy holders? Could it be that it is easier to get money from 70,000 individuals that don’t have an army of lawyers to fight the increase as opposed to those with company sponsored insurance. I’m sure it is harder to raise rates for company sponsored policies that some of Iowa’s larger employers might have( ie John Deere, Firestone, State employees, ect.) because they have lawyers to fight the rate increases. Insulting

    3.One of the factors that Wellmark states as a reason for the rate increase is the “ cost of providing health care services to policyholders”. If that is the case why not raise the rates for those that they are providing services too. As an example, I am 56 years old. I have a $5400 deductible policy and I pay approximately $360/ month for that policy. If I need to go to the doctor it cost me $93/ visit. That is money I pay out of my pocket. I know this so I’m not running to the doctor every time I have a sore throat or runny nose. Consequently, I have never meet my deductible. Yet if someone has a $5, $10 or even a $20 copay they might be more inclined to go to the doctor because it is not that much out of their pocket. Yet Wellmark has to pick up the tab for the remainder of the bill. Why not raise the rates on those that are using or in a lot of cases abusing their policy.

    Please decline this rate increase or if nothing else make it fair by making it smaller and across the board for all policyholders.

    Thank You for your consideration:

    Todd Jafvert
    Perry, IA

  129. Connie Mitchell Says:

    Regarding the “proposed base premium rate increase”—please do not increase.

    Remarks that the “consumer should be the watchdog of drug & medical equipment prices”; in order to keep insurance premiums down, are in my opinion, ludicrous!

    We do not get “printouts of items used in our surgeries! Also, who has the time to “research” this? This would be a “more than full time job” for most of us!

    Possible solutions to the problem:

    1. Government hire many more detectives to investigate Medicare Fraud.

    2. Prosecute “the Fraudulents” to let people know this will not be tolerated.

    3. Hire detectives whose only job is to research Medical Supply Companies & Physicians to get them to compete for “lowest prices” to work together with Insurance Companies.

    4. Give people who rarely make “claims” a “premium break”.

    5. The Insurance should be for “catastrophies” only. Advertise lower cost “Urgent Care Facilities” so that people know where to go in cases of “non-emergency”.

    Thank you for letting me comment,
    Connie Mitchell
    Muscatine, IA

  130. Linda Powers Says:

    I will not beable to attend the meeting do to work, therefore this is all I can do to let you know how much any increase will affect me and many other individuals…cost of living always going up ..wages staying the same..we can’t afford not to have insurance….and therefore we are given no choice but to pick high deductables …..which only gets us further behind when we don’t have the money to pay that…. this is a catch 22….we make to much to be really poor ( and get assistance) AND YET NOT ENOUGH TO AFFORD GOOD COVERAGE. It used to be an increase MAYBE every 3 to 5 years ….and now every year……Please find and answer

    Linda Powers

  131. Anonymous Says:

    Please do not increase my insurance premiums. I lost my job, found part time work, am taking care of my 90-year old mother. I read that the ones being most targeted for the increase are those that are single and lost their employer’s insurance coverage and have to pay privately. Something is definitely wrong with this picture!!! Please use common sense in this decision. We can’t keep being trampled upon by billion dollar businesses. Vote NO INCREASE.

  132. Karen R. Schwendinger Says:

    We are in a recession and they made a profit. I have to buy my insurance and they made a profit. I hope the Governor steps in. It is a hardship and they raised my rates annually, they will not be my insurance company for med supp when I go on Medicare. I have not been to the hospital in 10 years. I hope the State of Iowa does not allow them to pass this along to people on a fixed income.

  133. Carol J Larpender Says:

    I don’t know if there’s anything that I can do. We have two individual plans nearly $190 a piece. Now the rate is going up to $241 a piece. We are being forced to take the family plan at $620 a month. That’s a lot more than a 9% increase.

    I hope you can do something. We need help. This is scary to old and young people. Young people are hardly making it. I hope you can make it.

  134. Kelly Harryman Says:

    Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate:

    I am writing today to express my concerns about the proposed rate increase slotted for April 1, 2012. Current insurance rate are already astronomical. As a single mother of one I am pay $468/mo. to cover my son and I. This is without any history of serious medical problems that often increase insurance premiums. As full time student I already find it difficult to meet my monthly expenses and another insurance rate increase is not feasible for me. 9.35% will place my insurance cost over $500/mo. This amount is significant enough to be taxing to anyone.

    “Adjustment factors”, while fair from a business point of view, are not enough to make a significant difference in cost. Responsible citizens working hard everyday to provide for their families, providing insurance for medical issues that may arise in the future have been put into a position that can not be overcome. Without insurance the medical care available is extremely limited. Some doctors will not see a person without insurance and certain necessary procedures are not available to a person without insurance. This does not allow a person to provide the best care for their loved ones despite what your income may be. Insurance is quickly becoming unaffordable. If you can afford the monthly premium you don’t have anything left over to put away to cover a deductible or co-pay if necessary. Again restricting the medical care available.

    I understand that there are government programs designed to aid people on fixed incomes to have access to health insurance. These programs were put into place for people less fortunate than myself. However, if this proposed increase is instated I will be forced to seek government aid. I am sure there are many other people in similar situations that will be forced to do the same. Eventually the government is not have the resources to support the growing number of people reliant on their aid.

    I regret that I am unable to attend this public hearing but I must work in order to provide insurance for my family. Please consider these comments when discussing this topic. The ever growing middle to lower class is already struggling in the current economy. Do not make it even more difficult to care for our families.


    Kelly Harryman
    Kelley, IA 50134

  135. Vaugh Drews Says:

    With the unemployment rate at 9.1%, the administration not creating any new jobs, how do we keep increasing rates? Others need to cut costs in this situation and not the insured premium paying people. Not using this service, our costs should go down not up. We are not using the services so I don’t understand why we are not seeing a break in that. Those who do preventative care and healthy habits. I disagree with this pay increase request of 9.35%. I say that it needs to not take place. I’d appreciate that. I’m very concerned from a national and local standpoint when wages are not going up. Its wrong and someone has to say no and stop them. The problem is that this is falling deaf ears. There are a few people who have control and they don’t listen to the people. I have lost my trust in our leaders.

  136. Tanya Michener Says:

    I am leaving a comment for the “public hearing for the proposed base rate increase to be held before the Iowa Insurance Commissioner at the Urbandale Public Library from 11:00 am to 12:30 am Saturday Dec. 10th, 2011.”

    When we received the mail, one for my husband’s Wellmark policy and one for my children’s Wellmark policy, I couldn’t believe it again! I recognized the look of the envelope. When I was layed off from my job that held insurance and after COBRA we went on the Wellmark plans ( I eventually switched to Reserved National).
    That was in 2009, that means that since then those premiums have been raised over $150.00. If these hikes go into effect it will raise those premiums over $250.00 in less than 3 years.
    So for a family of four we now pay $664.40 a month for insurance. If the new hikes go into effect that will be pennies away from $774.40 a month in health insurance premiums. I can’t believe I just wrote that number. That is for a healthy Type 1 diabetic, healthy children and wife. We are small business owners and until last month worked over 50 hours a week… I currently work 40 hours a week, coupled with my husband working that at our business.

    I need to know why the price hikes. I need more specifics than health care costs keep going up. Where? What costs? How does that effect me? What am I doing that I can help control costs? I feel like a helpless whirlpool getting sucked down. Why the hikes? What did the previous hikes accomplish?

    ~ Tanya Michener
    Newton, Iowa

  137. Diane Patterson Says:

    What in the world is the problem with the insurance industry. Are they making money? Well good for them if they are, but the general public is getting poorer and poorer as a result of the increases in insurance policies. Pretty soon no one will be able to afford health insurance and then where will BC-BS be.

    We are self employed farmers and have always carried insurance privately. Currently we are in our 60’s with no major health issues and are paying $1,593.60 a month for a policy which has a high deductible and not much help on medications. Currently our health insurance premiums are higher than the Social Security we receive in a month. Now with an increase our health insurance will increase by $112.00 a month and our Social Security certainly will not go up that much. With these increases every year, which we have had the last 3 years, we are all becoming insurance poor and for what, so the insurance industry can become richer.

    They also tell the hospitals and Dr.’s what they will pay, is that fair? Can we as a general public refuse to pay or tell them what we will pay, well of course we can, but we would then be dropped. We are at the mercy of BC-BS and continue to pad their pockets. Everyone wants their cut but what about the general public share, where is that? Every time we as farmers have a good market everyone else seems to find a way to take their share first and we get what is left…….very little.

    I DEFINITELY am not for this increase and appeal to the Insurance Board to decline their request. Thank you!

    Diane Patterson

  138. Jennifer Jahnke Says:

    Dear Mam or Sir,
    I received your letter of our health insurance rate increase effective April 1, 2012…well i’m sure like everyone else i am not happy about it, i have been happy with the insurance but we just had a $20-25 increase this year and if this keeps increasing every year there are gonna be a lot of us who have to carry our own insurance that are not gonna beable to afford the premiums, we are not rich people. I hope this is reevaluated and is not increased this year. We are healthy people and don’t have to use our coverage very often so this just really is disgusting to me and my family. Please keep me informed on the outcome after the public hearing.

    Jennifer Jahnke

  139. Elizabeth Quegg Says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am strongly opposed to Wellmark’s request for an increase in base premium rates. As a retired person I based my cost of living on rates for insurance at the time I retired. Since then Wellmark has increased the rates every year. My social security has not increased nor has my earned income to keep up with Wellmark’s increases. When I see that “Wellmark is asking to increase rates because it believes there will be increased costs, “I wonder based on what information. When I look at past notes from meetings with Wellmark I wonder why Iowa’s Commisioner doesn’t ask more intelligent and relevant questions. I can’t help but wonder if she represents me and thousands of others in Iowa. I also can’t help but wonder if Wellmark is raising rates to pay for its fancy new building in Des Moines. Wellmark is a large corporation that needs to be monitored, the health and well fare of thousands of Americans is in its hands. Our Commisioner needs to be stronger and represent us by voting against increases in base premium rates.

    Elizabeth Quegg

  140. Marion Love Says:

    My husband retired. I have individual insurance. I am frugal and educated about my health choice. No reward to be frugal. I can’t pursue treatment because I will be uninsurable. I will not get credit for being frugal. I shop around and avoid unnecessary tests and procedures. My insurance rates go up every year and I have a high deductible.

  141. Blake Hamann Says:

    Again, we are getting notice of ANOTHER increase. Outrageous. This plan my wife and I had that we started over 4 years ago, started out at $260/month. Due to their outrageous increases, our premium rates are now $615/month. When is the state going to say enough? I understand there are increases, I used to sell health insurance and I was one of the top sales people for our company.

    How can they justify these rate increases when the services that they cover go down. I’m paying more and more each year and what they pay for is getting less and less. This has to stop.

    I will soon be one of those without health insurance as I cannot afford to pay more. When I’m paying close to 25% of my income to health insurance, something is wrong.

    If this rate increase goes through, I’ll be paying over $700/month for two people.


    Do not allow this insurance company to take advantage of it’s insured any longer.

  142. Sharon Anderson Says:

    This is not an actual complaint but a very real question about rate control!

    I would like to know what rates, our whose, are affected by the 9% Wellmark increase. Certainly not State retirees!

    We recently received the options for State of Iowa retirees for 2012. My husband and I are both on Medicare, so we take this as a supplement to it which currently costs us $96.50/month each for Medicare, and is expected to increase in 2012.

    The deductible 3 Plus plan that we are enrolled in this current year is increasing from $608.88 for the two of us to $1040.46 per month for the two of us, along with the requirement to take a Medicare Drug Plan at $68 per person, per month.

    Now by my calculations that is a 58% increase on the premium to stay on the same plan without calculating in. the $6.00 increase on the drug plan for this year. It would seem almost impossible for anyone to continue paying that with the best of retirement plans!
    Where are regulations for this? And, how can the state pay premiums for regular employees and/or those on SLIP or SERIB? Those have to take a huge chunk of State budget, which already has a problem.

    Yes, there is a cheaper plan offered to us this year, in a new Group N Medicare supplement and a drug plan that is $95.69 a month/per person and includes the donut hole.

    Who oversees these kind of rate increases for State employees? A couple of the plans on this tier go up 60%.

    I find this an absolute “rape” of former employees who put in their years of service.

    Sharon Anderson

  143. Randal Rasmussen Says:

    Iowa Insurance Commissioner,

    In regards to the purposed rate increase for Wellmark, I vote no.

    I am a small business owner and have seen my healthcare costs triple over the last few years. We are down to 2-3 companies to get insurance from in Iowa and it is getting more and more like a monopoly. In my business the competition is very tough and we have seen profit margins drop and drop during this recession. Wellmark on the other hand just votes in a rate increase, which 22% of is more profit.

    In my business I can raise my prices to make more profit, but, I will lose business to the competition. Maybe the 22% increase portion of the rate increase should be more like my business, and, most other small businesses, and be a 22% decrease in profit.

    I told my wife that I wish I could start up an insurance company and become as rich as they are, but I don’t know if I could live with myself. While your average person is struggling with groceries & mortgages, large insurance companies are voting in more profits. Please vote no to the purposed rate increase.

    Thank you,

    Randal Rasmussen
    Harlan, Iowa

  144. Vicki Boddicker Says:

    Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate

    To whom it may concern:

    I will be unable to attend the meeting on December 10 but I certainly want my feelings known about this proposal.

    I took out this policy in November 2010 when my husband retired and went on Medicare. My premium until April 2011 was $773.40. In April 2011 it jumped to $839.20 an increase of over $65.00 or around 8.5%. Now a 9.35% increase is being proposed one year later which would increase my policy another $78.46. My entire Social Security check plus another $250 is taken to cover just my insurance premium……and will require another $78.46 out of retirement income to cover it if this goes through.

    Food prices keep going up. Gas prices increased $.13/gal over night here a few days ago. Power companies are regularly asking for increases in the rates for our very modest home. We’re going to be priced right out of our very modest 44×24 home if something doesn’t change!!!!!

    Where are the increases in our income to cover all of these increases in our expenses? We know who IS getting an increase in their earnings and it is at the expense of us. We had some money invested and after all of the years that it was invested we probably can’t even consider that we broke even when considering the inflation. Money in time certificates are earning such pitiful interest. Where does it end?????

    Do these people who make these proposals have any idea of what it is doing to the regular people or do they just not care? When the CEO’s of these companies are earning the millions of dollars for themselves, they lose complete touch with the real world. And I see the breakdown of the proposed increase shows that over half of the proposed icnreased is to go to PROFITS AND INVESTORS…..not to medical services!!!!! It would be frustrating enough if the entire 9.35% were going to be appleid to “Medical services”…..but 62% going to profit of retained earnings???? I can’t begin to put into words how upsetting this is!!!!! Tell BCBS to start in their own house by taking no or at least much lower bonuses or are we to continue being told that the rich get richer and the porr just try to survive???

    Vicki Boddicker
    Norway, IA

  145. Ashley J. Worley Says:

    Iowa Insurance DIvision Consumer Advocate

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Sadly, the first time I learned about the proposed 9.35% health insurance rate increase proposed by Wellmark it was in the local newspaper. A few days later, I received the “official” notice in the mail about the public hearing regarding this same issue. I was disappointed I had to learn of this rate increase via the media first rather than directly from my insurance company; however, I am happy to learn that the Iowa Insurance Division will be hosting pulic hearings about this issue as a 9.35% rate increase is not only absurd, but could be detrimental to many households…including mine.

    Both my husband and I are twenty-something, college graduates, employed full-time. However, neither of our jobs offers health insurance as a benefit of employment. Therefore, we are forced to seek insurance on our own otherwise one illness or injury could bankrupt us. We chose Wellmark because it is one of the few insurance companies that offers a plan to cover routine maternity services as we’ve been discussing starting a family. The premiums we pay now are approximately $450 per month for a $4500/person deductible. With the proposed 9.35% rate increase our premiums would jump to $492.08 per month. Quite simply, we just CANNOT afford such a rate increase. We will be forced to consider the option of going uninsured if this rate increase does become final decision because $450 per month is already a financial burden for us anyways. I am disheartened to know that I may also have to postpone starting a family due to lack of insurance coverage. It is a sad day in America when finances dictate when responsible, hard-working, Christian adults can/cannot have children…yet that is the very situation I am faced with.

    I beg that the Iowa Insurance DIvision consider the poor economic conditions when reviewing Wellmark’s request to raise rates 9.35% and consider people like me who cannot afford to continue paying higher, and higher insurance premiums, deductibles, etc. I don’t know any other good/service that would consider attempting to increase their “profits/retained earnings” 22% in todays economic depression. I also want the Iowa Insurance Division to remember that the other “necessary” items such as gasoline, groceries, water, electricity, etc. are becoming more increasingly expensive and consequently will take precedence in my monthly budget to sustain my day-to-day health and well-being. I could go on and on with numerous reasons why a 9.35% rate increase just is not acceptable.

    In summary, I am NOT in support of t 9.35% rate increase for Wellmark. In face, I am adamantly against it. My current financial situation just cannot sustain further increases. I desperately plead that the Iowa Insurance DIvision not allow this (or any other) rate increase for Wellmark Insurance anytime in the near future. I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion on this matter. The Iowa Insurance Division is welcome to contact me at any time via telephone or email regarding my comments.


    Ashley J. Worley
    Birmingham, IA

  146. Sue Kerry Deber Says:

    Please, I can’t afford another raise in my insurance. Please I have to have insurance for my job, and I can’t afford to loose my job. And I can’t afford to raise my insurance much higher. I don’t know what else to say. Please, I can’t afford for it to raise anymore. I’m throwing myself on the mercy of the court.

  147. Syndi Osborne Says:

    I received the letter of the notice of public hearing on proposed base rate premium increase of Wellmark. I will not be able to attend any of the public hearings, but would like to express my opinion on the rate increase.

    I have had Wellmark for the past 25 years or so. Over the years, they would increase the premiums about 4 to 5 % per year. Over the past six years or so, they have increased the rates every six months.

    Wellmark asking to increase approximately 9.35 % I feel is outrageous. At the job where I work, we are lucky to get a 3% increase per year for salary. I have to work to pay for insurance and not other bills.

    I really feel that Wellmark has taken advantage of their insured and I always wonder if the pay increases goes towards paying their people because they tend to pay less on claims when you have one or you have to fight with them in order for them to pay.

    I have not been one that has had to use the insurance that much over the years, but I know that without it, if something major would happen the cost of care would be excessively high.

    I would suggest that you do not allow them to raise the percentage that high and make sure that they are only allowed to raise it every year a certain percent and not every six months like they have been doing.

    Syndi Osborne

  148. Madeline Urwin Says:

    I am writing in regards to the proposed rate increases requested by Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
    I have payed my own health coverage plan with Wellmark since the mid 1990’s. It goes up every year-
    2010 increased $73.40 a MONTH. In 2011 increased $62.00 a MONTH. It has to stop. In August of this
    year I received notice they would no longer cover vision care. I did not receive a rate decrease. They can
    do what ever they want whenever. They increased my deductible. NO MORE INCREASES.

    Thank You,
    Madeline Urwin

  149. Will Grig Says:

    I would prefer not to have an increase. If the increase is approved, make it as little as possible. I think health insurance is too high. Its hard for me to make the payments as I am self-employed.

  150. Steve Henning Says:

    Please stop increasing our premiums! Every year it is another increases….I am on Social Security and can not afford this.

    Steve Henning

  151. Faith Kruse Says:

    I think it is absolutely ridiculous and it is unacceptable. Profit or a retained earnings, that is more profits going in their pocket. My husband cannot retire because of this. The government is just going crazy. An everyday person can’t think about retiring. Government serves 1 term and gets their health insurance paid for. It’s insane. I am dead set against “Obama care”. It’s crazy and I am dead set against this increase. I hope I don’t get a letter in February stating I need to pay another $75 a month.

  152. Mavis Widlund Says:

    I think it is ridiculous we are paying over $20,000 a year. I am not taking any meds husband is but not anything expensive. This increase is totally out of line. Why can’t it be increased with the cost of living. They have network provider savings, why if they are getting a bonus are they having a problem paying providers. I think this should be looked into.

  153. Linda Taylor Says:

    October 27, 2011

    To Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate:

    I wish to comment on the proposed rate increase Wellmark Insurance is requesting to take effect in April 2012. I totally am against any proposed rate increase. Per Wellmarks letter sent to me “Wellmark is asking to increase rates because it believes there will be increased costs for three factors that make up an insurance rate: medical services, administrative services, and profit or retained earnings.”

    I think Wellmark should wait for a rate increase once medical and administrative costs are actually figured, not speculated and their profit or retained earnings should not be included in any justification for a rate increase.

    Linda M. Taylor

  154. Linda B. Says:

    To Whom it May Concern at the Iowa Insurance Division and Senator Chuck Grassley:
    Unfortunately here we are again a year later! Blue Cross is proposing another increase in our insurance premiums. Let me give you a 2 year history of our personal premium increase. There are 2 of us, healthy, non-smokers, living on our Century family farm. Please keep in mind we are only giving you 2 years of history—increases have occurred every year to the point of having to change plans…
    January 2009–Insurance Premium for 6 months- $3793.80
    July 2009- Insurance Premium– for 6 months $4593.60
    that is a 21.2% increase for six months

    We decided we couldn’t afford nearly $10,000 a year for our health insurance, besides the other insurances we pay for our farm, vehicles, life insurance etc.. We cancelled that Health Insurance Plan and enrolled in an HSA plan with Blue Cross. Here are the increases we have incurred with that plan for the last 2 years.
    Enrolled in HSA plan–October 2009 which covered the following year, (we pay 2 times a year)
    HSA Plan means we pay for all our doctor visits and medications up to our deductable. This was a coverage we could afford.

    January 2010-June 2010 insurance premium–$2114.40(no claims)

    in April 2010 we received a notice of a $200 increase

    July 2010-December 2010 Insurance Premium– $3336.
    That is a 57.8% increase in 6 months-(-no claims)

    January 2011-June 2011 Premium– $3336
    in April received notice to pay $141.60 increase
    And now a proposed 9.35% increase
    We are now looking at paying almost as much as we did for the better coverage and we are getting less coverage now than in 2009 for the same money.

    (We understand there are many people that have higher premiums than ours and we sympathize with them. We are outraged at our situation and outraged for all those others in similar and more severe situations.)

    This is absolutely intolerable. As an insurance division and Insurance Commissioner it is your responsibility to question the insurance industry, look at data, crunch numbers, scrutinize, logically and sequentially reason why this increase is necessary and most of all, labor over the decision that is going to effect hundreds of thousands of people and their livlihoods. It is not about the insurance companies, CEO’s. COO’s, stock holders etc. being able to maintain profits in the hundreds of millions/billions of dollars. Let’s say it how it is… If the insurance company says they pay or use 97% of their money… well, do they tell how many billions they start with? 3% of 10 billion that would be left over is a good chunk of change. Can’t they run a company on that. I wish we had the exact figures, but we don’t. I would love to know the real finances that BCBS is working with. We were given the “billions” number from an insurance agent. Is it true? I am so disappointed and angry that all individual insurance holders are in this situation again, a year later. Indiviaual insurance holders are trying to do the right thing by taking responsibilty of having insurance. At some point there will be many that cannot afford insurance, will drop their insurance and put an even bigger strain on the economic system and health system. These increases at such a high rate every year have to stop! Maybe it is time for the insurance companies to live within their means, as we have had to do as responsible citizens. Big increases for insurance employees may have to wait as they have for many Iowans. Fancy new insurance buildings, fancy vacations, fancy cars, grand holiday parties etc. may have to wait for the insurance companies as they learn to live within their means. Lastly, why are they asking for an increase and not looking internally for ways to save money and make ends meet? Layoffs??? Less of a bonus??? Cut corporate spending??? Making it work with less??? That’s what we in the real world are living everyday!

    Respectfully Submitted
    Linda and Jim

  155. Dave Brown Says:

    I have Wellmark insurance and I turned in a claim two months ago and their service has been horrible. I have had to submit the information twice and they are still giving me the run around. I have always paid my premiums and I just think their service so poor. I don’t believe they should have a rate increase becuase their service is so poor.

  156. Nancy C. Lepsch Says:

    Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate

    Dear Madam/Sir:

    My letter is written in protest of Wellmark’s notification of a substantial raise in insurance payments. The 7.03%, give or take a little, is overwhelming.

    With pre-conditions, a person is held captive, since no other insurance companies will accept. After last years large increase, Wellmark would not allow dropping into a lower benefit, lower cost plan. This leaves the choice of pay or go with no insurance.

    Booklets, pamphlets, and letters from Wellmark flood our mailbox. All this health information being sent is readily available through technology like television, newspapers, I-Pods, and Internet. There is a considerable cost for personnel, printing, and mailing of these items. My recycle bin overflows!

    Wellmark should instill a austere economic overhaul as we all are having to do. An estimated raise to $1998.87 per quarter plus $1000 deductible is very unreasonable.


    Nancy C. Lepsch
    Dubuque, Iowa

  157. Steve Peterson Says:

    They have a nice new building.

  158. Ken and Cheryl Ferguson Says:

    We just received notice that you are considering allowing an increase on our medical insurance. Since the cost of living expense has only gone up @ 4%, we do not understand why the medical insurance should be able to go up 9.35%. It seems every year the insurance rates can go up which costs us more, but things like social security do not get any increase. Can you give an explanation for this?
    Ken & Cheryl Ferguson

  159. Brenda Spencer Says:

    I wanted to comment on the proposed rate increase. I am hoping that it does not happen. My husband left me in March and now I have two children to raise on my own. They still get insurance through his work, but I had to buy my own. This was such a good price for me compared to some things. I really though I needed to take is and I’m really not happy about the fact that it might go up.

  160. Bonnie Allison Says:

    I just wanted to let people know that I pay a great share for insurance costs an if they double it I am in trouble. i have no income and I have no disability and I only have a stipend from the courts. everyone keeps raising everything and no one will have insurance and or anything else if they keep raising rates. The state will go broke.

    I don’t mind people raising rates because everything keeps going up, but where does it end. I think things have gotten out of control.

  161. Nancy and Calvin Stammer Says:

    Once again, I would like to protest the Wellmark rate increase. Once again, MY salary has not gone up, in fact, it has been frozen for 2012. I will have to learn to live within the same budge as I did in 2011, even though food, utility, clothing, housing, transportation, and other prices have continued to rise.

    We have been told that the new building has actually saved money for Wellmark. How about using those savings to offset the increased costs, and not force higher prices on the consumers? We cnanot afford another 9.35% increase after the 2010 and 2011 price hikes!
    Nancy and Calvin Stammer

  162. K'Lee Naberhaus Says:

    I can’t really afford my insurance as it is. Over the years I have paid my own premium, I have had only one year that I have had medical claims that have added up to an amount over my premium cost. When I check about lowering my premium by raising my deductible, I’m told that any new condition would be on a lifetime rider if I would ever want to change back to my lower deductible. How unfair can this be? Maybe the highly paid executives should abide by the same lock in rules they apply to us. No more raises. Get out of the 6 figures and get down to the $10/hour salaries that us premium payers are at. Actually we already have social medicine because insurance rules everything we can have done, medicines we can take, doctors we can see, etc. All the stress and worry of being to afford our premiums are causing more illness and expense for all!

    K’Lee Naberhaus
    Lake View, IA

  163. Angie Eastman Says:

    Dear Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate:

    I once again am frustrated to hear of the 9.35% proposed rate increase by Wellmark. This disturbs me because our economy is in the worst shape it has been but yet an increase in premiums may take place. I come from a family of 5 with one income. That income comes from a small family business that doesn’t offer insurance due to the small amount of employees employed there. We (my husband and I) in turn purchase our own individual plans from Wellmark/BCBS and pay over $400 per month. I know this is obviously not as much as some people pay but for us it is alot. We also have 3 small children who are on Medicaid as we are unable to afford $900 monthly premiums for the entire family. Taxes, insurance (house and health), groceries you name it continue to skyrocket but yet no one including us are receiving any type of raises. So how are people supposed to continue to support themselves when bills go up but no extra income is coming in. Something has got to change! I do plan to attend the public hearing on December 10th. I seriously hope Wellmark/BCBS will think long and hard about their decision!

    Thank you,

    Angie Eastman
    Marshalltown IA

  164. Dennis Bliss Says:

    I do not understand why (or how) you can justify a rate increase, particularly in these economic times. The cost of health insurance is through the roof, mostly because nobody has the guts to stand up to the government, who provides FREE health care to illegal immigrants, and tell them to stop. The cost of this “free” health care is being paid for by me and the thousands of others who WORK for a living. Let’s start by taking away the FREE health care for these illegals. Why do these illegals deserve FREE health care and the rest of us, who have worked our butts off most of our lives, continue to pay higher prices. If you would perform a little research, I am sure you would save millions of dollars by taking away this FREE health care from the illegal immigrants, and thus eliminate the need for any increase. Wake up and take care of business (and the AMERICAN people). Otherwise, I will officially change my name to Juan Valdez, and start receiving FREE health care myself.

    I am quite certain that the profit margin for the health care companies is right up there with the drug companies (400-900%). I know I could get by with a 100% return on my investment. I think you could as well.

    Sincerely (upset),

    Dennis Bliss
    Council Bluffs, Iowa

    • Randy & Mary Says:

      I like your reply to changing your name to Juan. That maybe the best idea I have heard.


  165. Sharon Sarazim Says:

    I don’t think they should have another increase. I pay $420 per month I have a hard time paying this now. Everything else is going up and I don’t know if I can swing this. I may have to drop my insurance.

  166. Arlys J. Hansen Says:

    To Whom it may concern:

    I am writing to let you know that I am opposed to the rate increase Wellmark is proposing. I feel they are making a large enough profit each quarter and they don’t need to increase it. I am afraid to even use my insurance because I feel if I do, they will increase the rates regardless. Our wages are not increasing at the same rate their rate increases are. I feel the insurance companies are ruling our lives and it needs to be stopped. Please do anything you can to block this rate increase.

    Thank you for your consideration of this email.


    Arlys J. Hansen
    Manchester, IA

  167. Tim Waters Says:

    If they are going to keep driving people to not have insurance. I’m defiantly going to be leaving them if they raise their process. But, people just cant’ afford it. It will continue to drive people not to have insurance.

  168. Julie McVay Says:

    I understand an insurance company having to increase rates due to the rising cost of medical care. Hospitals and Clinics themselves are becoming more like corporations every day by buying out small practices. It’s no different than what is going on with the major corporations in the world. They rule/own the world. There is no American Dream anymore because there is no room for small business anymore. They can’t be competitive. They can only be bought. And the Federal Government continues to approve major mergers and buyouts.

    What I am most dismayed about is that the corporations have no humanity. They are not concerned with people, only profits. I am not blaming only the insurance companies, but as an example….why hasn’t Wellmark taken more steps to apply pressure against rising medical costs? Tell us what WE can do to help and what YOU are doing to help. Things cannot keep going the way they are. And not just in the insurance sector….but in our entire economy.

    There has to be a way that Wellmark, with it’s leverage, can help with this problem instead of simply passing it on to us. Fight for your clients. Help us by explaining to us what we can do to combat rising costs. Help us by implementing programs, studies or other means that can help lower costs. Put pressure on Hospitals and doctors that are overcharging if that’s the cause of our increases. At lest explain in detail exactly what medical costs are rising and why. You may think you have, but if the public doesn’t see it, you haven’t. You are the ones who know the most about it-Do something!

    One thing I really hope you listen to is the plea from several of us who rarely use our insurance. Find a way to implement some kind of rebate or other type of credit for those years that we use only our yearly preventative checks. Some of us feel like we are paying $4-5,000.00 a year for nothing.

    Please….instead of spending money on advertising your business on TV, etc., try spending it helping the clients you already have……you do that, and word of mouth will be your advertising.

  169. Sandra Reinke Says:

    What is the deal? There is going to be meetings but they are too far. Why don’t they have some closer to NE Iowa? The closest is 2 hours away. It is ridiculous. I don’t know how we are going to come up with the money.

  170. Richard Sass Says:

    They just increased it last year and the year before. We are getting to the point where we can’t afford insurance. I do not want to see another hike. We are self employed and this is getting ridiculous.

  171. Carolyn Rael Says:

    Both my husband and myself are retired and paying about $700 per month. If they raise that; it is hard to pay it as it is. I have a $2500 deductible to keep cost down. It is getting too hard to afford it. I just hope it doesn’t go through.

  172. Sandy Schmith Says:

    Re: Proposed Insurance increase

    I am writing to express my concern over the proposed rate increase on our blue cross blue shield insurance.

    We have had very frequent rate increases and it needs to stop.

    I have a son with juvenile diabetes. This is a condition someone is born with – they did not drink, smoke, or eat themselves to become affected!

    We could never try and change insurnace due to this “pre existing” condition.

    We have a $5000 deductible on each person of our family of 4. My son used his $5000 without any problem so we are ASSURED of spending $12,000 annually on insurance PLUS anything else for our other 3 family members! This is ridiculous and I would like to see changes in our healthcare. I am afraid our children will neer be able to afford to take care of themselves!!

    Sandy Schmith, DVM

  173. N Phillips Says:

    To whom it may concern:

    I feel it is unacceptible for Wellmark to be allowed to make another arte increase – that would be the third substancial increase in three years. I currently pay $408.45 monthly for a single policy. I have a $5400 deductible- if it was lower the premium would be even higher. I am basically healthy so don’t come even close to meeting the deductible – so my policy pays for essentially nothing. The cost of having insurance is becoming prohibitive.

    Something needs to be done to control health costs rather than just raising insurance costs. Doctors order so many expensive tests – people are allowed to use the ER as a clinic because it is more convenient. Why does it cost twice as much to have a test or procedure done at a hospital outpatient clinic as it does to do it at a Dr’s office? Costs for many medications are outlandish. If things don’t change, even responsible people who want to have insurance won’t be able to afford it. And why does it seem that individual policy holders are targeted more than group holders?

    I repeat – it would be unacceptible and devastating if Wellmark is allowed this third rate increase

    Thank you,

    N Phillips

  174. nancy landman Says:

    I would request that no increase, or only a minimal increase be made at this time.

  175. Becky Grieble Says:

    i want to say “what?”. my insurance keeps going up. It seems like they keep getting more money, but i get less services. i have a limited budget. i can’t afford to continue to pay an increase of $100 a amount. I vote no on the increase. I hope commissioner tells the insurance company no.

  176. Theresa Mann Says:

    To WhomIt May Concern:
    I am writing you to complain about the proposed raise in my health insurance. Right now I pay 328.00 per month I am a single woman who is self-employed. This is getting out of hand. Not only does it cost me 328.oo per month but I have a 2800 deductible a year that I have to pay. Everything I make goes towards my insurance. Please stop this from happening. If not they are going to raise every year until I can no longer afford it and will have to go without.
    Thank You
    Theresa Mann

  177. Joseph R. Lapointe Says:

    Dear Consumer Advocate:

    While I realize that everybody is getting older and fatter and that health care costs are going up, I question the Wellmark’s need for another rate increase at this time. My premiums for single coverage through the Bar Association plan with high deductibles and co-pays used to be around $200 per month just 3-4 years ago. Three years ago they went to $400 per month. This year they went to $600 per month. Now they want another $60.

    To get my wife and kids on the policy as I’d like to do would be double this.

    I tell you, I am at the point where, every three months when I have to come up with over $1800, of dropping coverage and just letting the State take care of me. If I am thinking this way, thousands more are as well.

    Eventually Wellmark is going to drive all but the wealthy out of its plans. Unless the hospital turns me away when I have my next heart attack, the taxpayers are going to end up paying for my care. Not only my care but the care of hundreds of thousands worse off than me.

    My belief is that the insurance companies are raising rates so much in anticipation of the new health care law, figuring that having to insure everyone without regard to pre-existing conditions is going to cost them a lot of money. I think we ought to wait and see if that happens first.

    Very truly yours,
    Joseph R. Lapointe

  178. Cathy Bullen Says:

    The people getting increases will not be able to afford it; they might just stop seeking treatment and they will incur a lot of hardships. They may even commit suicide. This is affecting people’s mental health. Myself, I’m on a limited income and its difficult to make ends-meet. I have been very fortunate and I have not had to use the insurance very often. It would be nice to get a break or discount when you don’t use it that often.

  179. Terry Says:

    Not quite a double digit jump this year! Increases for 2010, 2011 and 2012 will spirit my premiums by 40%. Since I am on a fixed income, this will be the last increase I can afford. I’ve already changed policy to a huge deductible so I can afford the premium. Judging by all the comments I can safely presume many are in the same boat as myself.

    I would suggest that if Wellmark’s assets have increased by a quarter billion, there is little need for a premium increase. The company will probably insist that assets are not profit, but with out the profit there would be no rise in those assets. Perhaps it’s coincidental that the new building costs about a quarter billion. I’m sure it saves in operating costs, but the assertion that premiums are not used to finance the building is malarky. Wellmark derives monies from one of two sources – clients or investments. Ultimately the monies from investments is a result of monies collected from clients. Obviously the more you collect from clients the more you have to invest. A new building (consolidation) was a good idea, but this particular one is quite lavish. If building costs had been trimmed by a mere 10%, the requested premium increase for this year would have been considerably less.

    Because of Wellmark’s insistence that no premiums were used to finance the new building I have reservations about the credibility of the need for nearly 40% hike in premiums over 3 years. A thorough investigation into hospital and doctor charges should be made to verify Wellmark’s claim. I know the cost of my doctor’s services haven’t increased 40% during these past 3 years – I know, because of my high deductible, I pay the full amount.

    Wellmark is applying political smoke and mirrors to it’s private sector operations. Based upon Wellmark’s public financials, any increase in premiums is uncalled for, unless of course it is to bolster profits.

  180. Dick Hakes Says:

    Insurance premium increases are having a huge impact on low and middle-income Americans. Every time my rate goes up, I translate it into X number of new sales I need per month just to cover the additional expense — at a time when just “staying even” in generating sales is a major struggle. Where will it stop?

    Dick Hakes
    Storm Lake, Iowa

  181. Susan Kummer Says:


    S.S. Kummer

  182. Anne-Louise Krambeck Says:

    To Whom It May Concern,
    I am writing to request that Wellmark’s request for a rate increase be denied. I started with Wellmark in September 2009, when I was 52 yrs old. In April 2010 my premium was increased. Then it was increased again in April 2011. (I had to change my deductible from $2750 to $5400 in April 2011 to make it affordable.) Now I receive a letter stating that another rate increase is being requested. PLEASE SAY NO!!
    As a short side note it might be interesting for you to know that I haven’t filed any claims since I’ve had this insurance. I don’t understand why I should have to pay for another increase when I haven’t used this insurance since the initial purchase in 2009.
    Thank you for your time and consideration of my request.
    Anne-Louise Krambeck
    Eldridge, IA 52748

  183. Thomas Salter Says:

    In dealing with this rate increase, this is way out of line. 2 or 3% is more inline; 9 % is exaggerated. I understand that insurance costs are sky-rocketing but people can’t afford these kinds of increases. This is way too much for the every-day person to absorb.

  184. Senator Charles Grassley Says:

    Ms. Susan E. Voss, Commissioner Iowa Division of Insurance

    Dear Ms. Voss:

    I have enclosed a copy of the letter which I received from Ms. Ellen Treiner regarding difficulties she is experiencing.

    I would appreciate your assistance in this matter by providing any information that would be helpful to Ms. Treiner. Please send a reply to my Sioux City office. Your assistance is appreciated.

    [Letter immediately follows].

    • Ellen Treimer Says:

      Please consider my comments and questions to at the public hearings re: 2012 rate increases for single insurers. Thank you.

      Situation: I am divorced and paying health care out of my own pocket. I make $8.50 hour or $8992 per year. My wages have not increased since 2008 but my premiums already cost one-half of what I earn. The city I work for won’t let me on their group plan because I unable to work more than 20 hours a week.

      In 2010 I paid $4552.07 for health care costs which included monthly premiums of $348.75 plus 1 mammogram, 2 routine dentists exams, and 1 routine eye exam. I have had no major illnesses and have seen no rates comparable to the $210 Kaiser Family Foundation quotes for single insurers. I was paying $290.55 when I first bought my policy.

      If my premiums go up I will be paying an aditional $217.44 which will bring my yearly premiums to $4025.64. If I spend the same amount on dentist and eye routine exams my total will be three-fourths of my income in 2012 and my wages will be unchanged at $8992 year.

      Please address my individual concerns. Thank you.


      Is 25%+ profit necessary for Wellmark to continue in business? ($4.07 goes for earnings from the $18.12 monthly increase). We have no alternatives and the rates go up substantially EVERY year. If this is going to continue every year it makes more sense to take our health care premium money and buy stock in the only health insurer Iowa has.

      Why can’t some of this money go to refer single-policy holders to group plans that will accept them run by associations, cities and towns, non-profits, or Wellmark group policies? Experience shows government-run health care fails everyone but private enterprise needs to offer group plans to everyone.


      Ellen Treimer
      Hartley, Iowa

  185. Laura Leonard Persia, Ia. Says:

    My husband and I strongly oppose the proposed rate increases. Wellmark has increased rates every year we have had a policyand when is it going to stop. Iowan’s wages are not increasing to offset this.
    They say its because the healthcare cost are increasing and thus need to raise out rates. Well has anyone ever thought about doing research on the rising cost. Why are hospitals and doctor’s offices really raising their charges? Could it be because those of us who pay our bills are paying for all the freeloaders in this country? Hospitals and offices are writing off cost for illegals that get treated. CUT them off!!! I see this every time I go to my office for services that I PAY FOR!! There are people who cannot hardly speak English AND demand a translator. Those of us who pay our bills are paying for these people. Crack down on all this and they would not have to charge so much to those of us who do pay.
    My husband and I currently pay over $500/month for our policy. I cannot afford any increase. Perhaps this dramatic increase is setting the stage for Obamacare to kick in. Wellmark wants to decrease how much they pay? Go figure… charge high and pay less.

  186. Karen Anderson Says:

    I feel if we keep getting any higher, a lot of us are going to have to quit. One of our employees pays $20k, we pay about $16k with a $5k deductible. I cannot understand how they think we can afford this. We need to do something different to fix this problem. What do they expect us to do? If I had my way I’d move to Canada. Someone needs to look at what to do to fix the problem. I wouldn’t go to the doctor at all if I didn’t have high blood pressure. I’m tired of paying premiums for people who live off us.

  187. Steve Swaffer Says:

    First, given the current economy and the need for everyone to cut costs and pinch pennies, I feel that additional profit should be limited to cost savings. If Wellmark can cut admin costs, then they can increase their profit without increasing customers costs. Any part of a rate increase that is simply profit increase is not appropriate in this economy. If they feel they need to increase profit, they need to work with health care providers to find ways to control waste and excessive spending in that industry.

    Second, the timing of the cost increase. As an employee I always knew my insurance costs for the coming year by the time I signed up for it. Wellmark, by timing their rate increase for April, makes it impossible for a person to comparison shop insurance plans during the open enrollment period effectively circumventing competition. Last year, while shopping for insurance coverage for the first time as an individual for the first time, I was not aware of the Wellmark price increase until the notices came out in April. If my business sold a product at one price, then later said, “Oh by the way I was planning to raise the price anyway so here is your new cost.” I would be viewed as unethical at best, and possible be considered guilty of fraud. Yet, the IID, who is funded by me, the taxpayer, and should be my advocate allows this practice to go on year after year?? Since insurance policies are designed an a calendar year deductible (and most individual policies have a high deductible), then pricing should be set prior to the start of the plan year so that a consumer may know what the product he is buying will cost before they sign the agreement.

    Steve Swaffer
    Dutch Creek Electrical, Llc

  188. Jamie L. Bucknell Says:

    My name is Jamie Bucknell, and I am writing to express my opposition to the proposal for a base rate increase to be effective 01 April 2012. I am a single mother with two small children, struggling to make ends meet and this increase will be a huge burden on my finances. As of this time, I already pay approximately $8000 per year for myself and two small children. There are many people in this country that would go without insurance at these rates, but I choose to do the right thing and not be another “welfare” case. It seems to me that continuing to push the rate increases onto the consumer will continue to perpetuate an already bad situation. Fewer and fewer people will have insurance, and as the rates continue to go up, the number without insurance will increase.

    Please investigate other ways to cut your costs in order to maintain or improve your margins. I realize that you need to make money, too, but there must be other cost cutting measures that can be taken rather than taking more from those of us who already have very little. You state that three factors make up an insurance rate: medical services, administrative expenses, and profit or retained earnings. Please make sure that everything is being done as efficiently as possible and that all cost cutting measures have been taken before considering this increase.

    I appreciate your consideration.


    Jamie L. Bucknell
    Sydney L. Bucknell – daughter
    Keaton R. Trebon – son

  189. PATRIC REED Says:

    Wellmark needs to hold rates at their current level or roll them back to 2009 or 2010 rates at this time. In one year, costs and profits should be reviewed and rates should be adjusted as needed.

    Just because Wellmark “believes” costs will go up (don’t costs on everything go up each year) they should not be allowed to raise rates as they wish.

    Please look at rate increases the past 3 years as well as profits in the past three years and see if a rate increase is really warranted at this time.

  190. Thomas A. Hicks Says:

    I am opposed to the Wellmark rate increase. As others have noted, this will make an increase of about 40% in the past two years, a period when wages have been stagnant or declining. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest number (Oct. 2011) for the consumer price index of medical care is an annual inflation of 2.81%, with a long-term average of 5.59%. These numbers do not justify either a new 9% increase or a 40% increase over two years.

    The best I can tell from the financial statements on the Wellmark website, they have used most of the added income from their previous rate increase to increase their reserve funds, which stand at about $1.1 billion. I do not see evidence that the cost of claims payment has risen by anything approaching 40%. For 2009, Mr. Forsyth received compensation of $2,403,155 as chairman and CEO of Wellmark (I cannot locate more recent figures, but the Commission surely has them at hand).

    It seems to me that Wellmark could hold the line on costs in part by dipping into their reserves. Further, it would make a helpful statement to the community to reduce Mr. Forsyth’s compensation by a factor of ten. With compensation of $240,000 instead of $2.4 million, he would still be able to live in comfort, considerably more so than most of Wellmark’s customers.

    Please fulfill your responsibility to the citizens of Iowa by denying this rate increase.

    Yours sincerely and respectfully,
    Thomas A. Hicks
    Coralville, Iowa

  191. Larry G. Long Says:


    Dear Sir;

    The purpose of this letter is to note my objection to your proposed base rate increase of 9.35%.

    I have been a member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield for many years. During the past 3 years (from January 2008 until January 2011) my Premiums have raised from $590.40 (quarterly), to $925.20 (quarterly) for a increase of 36.19%, and now you propose to increase them again by another 9.35% for a total of 45.54%.

    Your letter states that the proposed 9.35% base rate increase adds $25.15 more per month ($75.45 quarterly) to the average rate for my plan. Due to your Premium Increases for my “very basic plan” ( In which you exclude my pre-existing Asthma Condition), I now pay $925.20 quarterly . A 9.35% premium increase would increase my monthly premiums by $28.84 a month, or $86.52 quarterly (NOT $ 25.15 as noted in your letter).

    I work, make minimum wage with NO benefits, and am lucky to get 20 – 25 hours a week (even though I have a College Degree from Grandview College).

    With the economy struggling as it is, no jobs, and unemployment at 9.1% , it has become impossible for many of us to afford these continual premium rate increases.
    Even Medicare Premiums are decreasing now, yet you once again propose to increase your premiums. We cannot afford another 9.35% premium increase.

    In your letter, you make note that 62% of your proposed rate increase will go to Profit/Retained Earnings (money your company does not spend on medical services or administrative expenses). What is this money used for then? More bonuses, Pay raises, ect ?? This only makes sense for a company known for Cooperate Greed, not for a respected caring company (which I had viewed BC/BS to be).

    Wellmark is asking for this increase because (as noted in its letter) it wants 62% of the 9.35% proposed rate increase to go for Profit and Retained Earnings. This is totally unreasonable. Has Cooperative Greed taken over?

    For the sake of all BC/BS members, I pray that the Iowa Insurance Division will DISSAPROVE this request for another Base Rate Premium Rate increase.

  192. Beverly Evans Says:

    We’ve had several increases in the past years and I cannot afford this. My premiums are $1500 for 3 months. I’m self-employed, I do not abuse my doctor visits; I don’t even go to the doctor. My deductible is $1800 yearly and I can’t afford to change to another carrier because of my pre-existing conditions. I tried to get the rider removed, but they wouldn’t even look at me.

  193. Anonymous Says:

    I have had BCBS for several years. I am on disability. If they keep having increases I will have to go without insurance. They just had an increase not too long ago. I pray it doesn’t happen.

  194. Larry G. Long Says:


    Dear Sir;

    The purpose of this letter is to note my objection to your proposed base rate increase of 9.35%.

    I have been a member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield for many years. During the past 3 years (from January 2008 until January 2011) my Premiums have raised from $590.40 (quarterly), to $925.20 (quarterly) for a increase of 36.19%, and now you propose to increase them again by another 9.35% for a total of 45.54%.

    Your letter states that the proposed 9.35% base rate increase adds $25.15 more per month ($75.45 quarterly) to the average rate for my plan. Due to your Premium Increases for my “very basic plan” ( In which you exclude my pre-existing Asthma Condition), I now pay $925.20 quarterly . A 9.35% premium increase would increase my monthly premiums by $28.84 a month, or $86.52 quarterly (NOT $ 25.15 as noted in your letter).

    I work, make minimum wage with NO benefits, and am lucky to get 20 – 25 hours a week (even though I have a College Degree from Grandview College).

    With the economy struggling as it is, no jobs, and unemployment at 9.1% , it has become impossible for many of us to afford these continual premium rate increases.
    Even Medicare Premiums are decreasing now, yet you once again propose to increase your premiums. We cannot afford another 9.35% premium increase.

    In your letter, you make note that 62% of your proposed rate increase will go to Profit/Retained Earnings (money your company does not spend on medical services or administrative expenses). What is this money used for then? More bonuses, Pay raises, ect ?? This only makes sense for a company known for Cooperate Greed, not for a respected caring company (which I had viewed BC/BS to be).

    Wellmark is asking for this increase because (as noted in its letter) it wants 62% of the 9.35% proposed rate increase to go for Profit and Retained Earnings. This is totally unreasonable. Has Cooperative Greed taken over?

    For the sake of all BC/BS members, I pray that the Iowa Insurance Division will DISSAPROVE this request for another Base Rate Premium Rate increase.

    Larry G. Long Indianola, IA 50125

  195. Rick Vetter Says:

    Dear Sir.
    I do not agree with the rate increase, BCBS says they think there will be rate increases, they do not know that for sure. President Obama said our insurance rates will go down with the new insurance
    laws that congress passed. I think they need to get the increase from President Obama.
    Rick Vetter
    Westside Ia.

  196. Claire Crawford Says:

    To Whom It May Concern-
    I was very disappointed when I pay a fortune for monthly premiums and you won’t pay for shingles, flu, or the pneumonia shot. If a person would become ill you would have to pay great costs. Why don’t you prevent these high costs and pay for preventative shots? Also I have been with you for many years. Can’t we get a price break? I have only gone to the doctor a few times in 15 years. Give us a break who don’t abuse the system. Also give us a rebate who only use the $4.00 generic drugs. Some people abuse the system and the ordinary person always has to pay. We cannot pay these high costs. We have house payments, car payments, and student loans for our kids. Give us a break!

    Claire Crawford

  197. Linda Says:

    I was notified by Wellmark BlueCross/Blue Shield that they wish to increase my premiums again by 7.03%. They have increased my rates nearly every year. I have a $1,000 deductible, no dental, no vision, a $20 co-pay on office visits, and a 60/40 split on all my medications. (2010 medications approx. $2,253, 2011 medications $1,175 so far) Dean’s medications are not covered. Dean’s insurance has also been climbing during the years, and we fully expect to receive him to receive a similar letter from Wellmark for him.

    In ten years, my premiums have increased seven times. The following is the total premium paid per year, for just my insurance.

    2003 $4,623
    2004 $4,884
    2005 $5,142
    2006 $5,508
    2009 $5,540
    2010 $6,413
    2011 $7,228 (if last premium for the year remains the same)

    This does not include my husbands insurance.

    In 2010 we paid $11,477 for our insurance.
    In 2011 we will pay $12,952 if the premiums remain the same.

    We each have $1,000 deductible, which is easily met every year.
    In the last ten years, we have paid the following out-of-pocket expenses for both of us.

    2001 $12,832
    2002 $8,676
    2003 $11,418
    2004 $9,625
    2005 $7,563
    2006 $9,070
    2007 $12,031
    2008 $6,213
    2009 $12,676
    2010 $11,441
    2011 $9,186 (up to this date)

    Based on the average of the last ten years, we spend a little over $10,000 each year for medical expenses not covered by insurance, which is now costing $13,000 per year. So every year, medical costs and insurance are going to total about $23,000, if we have no hospitalizations/injuries/diseases of a serious nature.

    We are self-employed, and will turn 60 this year. However, medical expenses are limiting what we can spend, save for retirement, buy equipment, etc. Due to some health issues, we would not be able to switch companies, and we are both fairly healthy. I can’t imagine what would happen financially if something really serious came up.

    I believe the State of Iowa Insurance Commission is the only resource we have to curb at least the cost of insurance. We have talked with many friends/acquaintances who cannot change jobs, or have to continue working even while they have serious health issues, simply because they cannot afford medical insurance. I am asking you to please regulate Wellmark’s increases in their premiums, not only now, but in the future as well.

    Everyone complains about Wellmark’s beautiful new building costing 250 million dollars. It’s very difficult to watch our rates go up when they build such an extravagant environment for employees. I wish we could afford state-of-the-art, new, efficient farming equipment, but our budget will not allow it, so we make do with older, 1980’s equipment.

    Thank you for your consideration.


  198. Rebby Lucas Says:

    My wife received the notification of the proposed insurance increase by Wellmark Bluecross/Blueshield of Iowa. She and I both feel that a 10% increase in insurance premium is way overboard, especially considering the economy the way it is right now. My wife is selfemployed and is barely making a go of it as it is. Her expenses are almost 50% of her income. Sometimes, she is in the red as far as the bank balance.

  199. Linda Frideres Says:

    I was notified by Wellmark BlueCross/Blue Shield that they wish to increase my premiums again by 7.03%. They have increased my rates nearly every year. I have a $1,000 deductible, no dental, no vision, a $20 co-pay on office visits, and a 60/40 split on all my medications. (2010 medications approx. $2,253, 2011 medications $1,175 so far) Dean’s medications are not covered. Dean’s insurance has also been climbing during the years, and we fully expect to receive him to receive a similar letter from Wellmark for him.

    In ten years, my premiums have increased seven times. The following is the total premium paid per year, for just my insurance.

    2003 $4,623
    2004 $4,884
    2005 $5,142
    2006 $5,508
    2009 $5,540
    2010 $6,413
    2011 $7,228 (if last premium for the year remains the same)

    This does not include my husbands insurance.

    In 2010 we paid $11,477 for our insurance.
    In 2011 we will pay $12,952 if the premiums remain the same.

    We each have $1,000 deductible, which is easily met every year.
    In the last ten years, we have paid the following out-of-pocket expenses for both of us.

    2001 $12,832
    2002 $8,676
    2003 $11,418
    2004 $9,625
    2005 $7,563
    2006 $9,070
    2007 $12,031
    2008 $6,213
    2009 $12,676
    2010 $11,441
    2011 $9,186 (up to this date)

    Based on the average of the last ten years, we spend a little over $10,000 each year for medical expenses not covered by insurance, which is now costing $13,000 per year. So every year, medical costs and insurance are going to total about $23,000, if we have no hospitalizations/injuries/diseases of a serious nature.

    We are self-employed, and will turn 60 this year. However, medical expenses are limiting what we can spend, save for retirement, buy equipment, etc. Due to some health issues, we would not be able to switch companies, and we are both fairly healthy. I can’t imagine what would happen financially if something really serious came up.

    I believe the State of Iowa Insurance Commission is the only resource we have to curb at least the cost of insurance. We have talked with many friends/acquaintances who cannot change jobs, or have to continue working even while they have serious health issues, simply because they cannot afford medical insurance. I am asking you to please regulate Wellmark’s increases in their premiums, not only now, but in the future as well.

    Everyone complains about Wellmark’s beautiful new building costing 250 million dollars. It’s very difficult to watch our rates go up when they build such an extravagant environment for employees. I wish we could afford state-of-the-art, new, efficient farming equipment, but our budget will not allow it, so we make do with older, 1980’s equipment.

    Thank you for your consideration.


  200. Roxie Ashby Says:

    Every year when BC/BS raises their premiums you always say you are going to address the issues..you NEVER do anything..You NEVER deny their proposed increases. They always get what they propose..while the retired people don’t even get as much as a 3% increase in their social security..but yet we are at the insurance company’s mercy..what choices do we have? Where else can we get insurance? Their CEOs continue to receive extravagant wages and bonsus…their corporate offices are remolded and us poor folks who need insurance are apparently penalized because we file medical claims with our insurance company and they have to pay out benefits…Between big business and a corrupt government…we just can’t get a break!!! You are supposed to be an advocate for the people..why do the insurance companies always get the rate increases they request???? Time Certificates of Deposit don’t even pay 1% interest, but yet BC/BS wants to increase their rates 9.35% ..that’s INSANE!!!!

  201. Jeff Dellitt Says:

    To whom it may concern,
    I became a customer of Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the spring of 2011. Within 30 days, my premium increased significantly. Now, my carrier wants to raise my premium by another 9.35%. I am vehemently opposed to this increase. I am an independant contractor who receives no help from my employer for health insurance. Rates are already high enough. Perhaps BCBS should look at cost reductions and other belt tightening within, like the rest of us, rather than continuing to pass on their costs to the consumer. Please vote down this request. Thanks.

  202. Mike Kappel Says:

    IF you folks are the ones that vote on BC/BS rate increase, third year in a row,i hope you have the good sense to tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine. It is pure greed on their part. I would also reccomend that you open the borders to other ins. companies, to give them a little competition.

  203. Rick Zehr Says:

    My organization has been a leader in addiction medicine and behavioral health for over 32 years and became a provider of services in Iowa on January 1, 2010. We entered into an agreement with Wellmark soon thereafter. On October, 1, 2010, Wellmark instituted a new payment methodology and, without negotiating new rates, lowered our reimbursment over 70% overnight. Because the new rate was significantly below our costs (approximately half of what other insurers reimburse for the same services) and because BC/BS covers 60% of the patients we treat, over the past nine months we have attempted to resolve our differences through good faith negotiations but Wellmark has yet to raise our level of reimbursement. As a result, Iowans in need of addiction medicine services are likely to lose a unique, state of the art provider who produces the highest clinical outcomes in the field.

  204. Dennis Rubel Says:

    Dennis Rubel: I think they need to look at different ways to fix this; if they keep raising rates, more people are going to go on Title 19 cause they can’t afford it. This increase may cause the government to have to pay for everyone’s insurance. Maybe the big boys up in the office need to look at taking a pay cut. Maybe they don’t need all the people they have in the big offices; how do they expect us to afford it? BCBS is great insurance, but they need to figure out something besides raising premiums; maybe the people who use insurance more, pay more. I’m loosing hours at work; maybe them guys should do the same. You never hear about jobs being lost at insurance companies. I just don’t understand this.

  205. Gail Lawlor Says:

    I am a Wellmark customer. For an individual policy, I am paying a premium of $391.45, which is more than my house payment. I do not own an automobile. Given my income, I had to choose between health care coverage and the purchase of a car and subsequent maintenance of such car. I felt it too risky to be without health care coverage, therefore I do not have my own method of transportation.

    Recently, I heard a radio news broadcast regarding the ever widening gap in this country between the welathy and the poor and the decline of the middle class. The report stated that a large percentage of people in this country are earning less than $26,000.00 a year and that the average income in the United States is now $40,000.00 a year. Given these statistics, I wonder who is going to be able to pay the ever rising premiums for health care coverage. My income certianly isn’t going up 9.35%, and if these rates continue to rise so dramatically, more of us are going to be without health care.

    I believe these statistics should be considered before allowing Wellmark to increase their base rate.

  206. Elvira Scannell Says:

    Hearing? What for, Ins Co DO WHATEVER they want to do & the IA Ins. Division ALLOWS them to raise whatever % & whenever they want to. Under 2 yrs my Ins.was raised over $150 a month. So why bother, again they do whatever the hell they want to do. Why do they allow hospitals, Drs or any procedure be so high in charges.

    I bet [the Iowa Insurance Commissioner] is not paying Ins. premium out of her pocket!

  207. Sharon Lane Says:

    My husband and I were finally able to get health insurance in 2006. We went with a policy with a High deductible so as to help lower the monthly payments. I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to keep up the monthly premiums and then all that money that we would have paid in would just be lost. Since starting with Wellmark in 2006 our premiums have went up EVERY year. I could live with $10 or $20. A month increase, but that’s not the case. Our premium last year went up almost a $100.00 a month. The year before that went up almost $90.00 a month.

    In case you haven’t noticed people are struggling just to keep a roof over there heads. I would like to be able to keep our health insurance since we have paid into it for this long. But, if it comes to a roof over my head or insurance, I think I’ll go with the roof, we made it for a lot of years with out health insurance and it looks like we may have to do it again.

    Thanks for at lest asking for our opinion, not that I think it will matter.

  208. Carrie Larson Says:

    I received the letter for the proposed premium increase for my insurance premium and I am very much against this increase. I am a single person and have to provide my own insurance because it had gotten so extreme for my boss to cover the employees we had to search out our own insurance. I joined Wellmark in July 2011 because they had the best rates from all of the other insurance companies I researched and I had a pre-existing condition so my choices were limited. The increase will be a big hardship for me since I only have my income and I am already working a full time job and two parttime jobs to make ends meet. Please reconsider the premium increase because as I have read a lot of the comments it will be a hardship for a lot of people. There has to be another way to compensate for the rising medical costs. The doctors and hospitals should not be allowed to charge as much as they do for their services they should have a regulation put on their charges.

    Thank you

  209. Joan Ehlers Says:

    I am very upset that Blue Cross Blue Shield is asking for a rate increase at this time. My income has not grown and the increase will have to come out of my food budget The company needs to look at the pay increases the executives have received in the past years and decrease their income just as they are trying to decrease my income by increasing rates at this awful percentage rate.

    thank you
    Joan Ehlers

  210. Florence Monteith Says:

    This rate increase, each year I have increases in my insurance, this is well beyond what I can afford now that I have been unemployed. I wish they could come up with a policy for those that do not abuse the policy. If we do not abuse the policy medically I think we should benefit from that.

  211. Cindy Putman Says:

    Ive had this for a year and my premiums have gone up twice already. I’m on a fixed income and only bought this for the major medical. How can people afford this?

  212. Linda Francis Says:

    I have been provided this email address by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa as a way to express my thoughts and feelings about their proposed increase of my health insurance rates in April of 2012. I am completely opposed to this increase. We had a similar increase last year. I am a healthy 56 year old. If the rates keep increasing at this rate, those of us that have been able to afford health insurance will soon not be able to. Please DO NOT allow this increase to go into effect.
    Thanks you,
    Linda Francis

  213. Sandra Mohrfeld & Thomas Mohrfeld Says:

    Wellmark Insurance of Iowa:

    We are writing in regard to another notice of premium increase.
    Seriously another increase!
    Here is just a sample of the increases we have had since 2007.

    April 1, 2007 – monthly premium was $582.10 increased to $614.60 April 1, 2008 – monthly premium increase to $661.40 April 1, 2009 – monthly premium increase to $727.60 April 1, 2010 – monthly premium increase to $1096.30 April 1, 2011 – monthly premium increase to $1189.40

    We are self employed and we pay the entire cost of our health care premiums. We feel Wellmark has taken major jumps of premiums in the last 5 years and yet you are looking at another increase for April 2012, when does it stop increassing at a large rate?

    I hope we will not have an increases of our health insurance for 2012.

    Sandra Mohrfeld & Thomas Mohrfeld

  214. Brad Arnold Says:

    This is ridiculous we have been with Wellmark for 3 years and have had major premium increases every year not to mention the no longer paying for eye examines. I am so sick of this crap, we started out 8,000/yr and now its 12,000/yr. The company CEO’s must need their “raise” before the new year.

  215. Diane Peterson Says:

    In the past 6 years, my rates have gone up $100. That’s even after raising my deductible. In those 6 yrs, I have only met my deductible of $700. I am self-employed so I have to pay for my own insurance.

    You sign up for insurance and even if you don’t use it, because of your pool, your rates go up. I think rates should be based on how you use it, not how others use it. If this rate increase goes through, I will be paying more than my house payment for health insurance. i don’t know what else I can do to lower my payments.

  216. Duane Jundt Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Per a letter received from my health insurance provider, Wellmark, I would like to provide my input on the company’s proposed base rate increase.

    I would like the Iowa Insurance Division to carefully consider the ramifications of yet another rate increase in health insurance premiums by Wellmark for those of us who purchase health care plans out of our own pockets. Because I am employed on a part-time basis by my employer I am not eligible for the company’s health care plan so I had to purchase my own health care plan. The last few years have seen a number of rate increases by Wellmark which have significantly raised the cost of keeping such a plan. With the uncertain economy and ever rising food prices, the proposed rate increase would deal another financial setback to those of us struggling to meet our financial obligations while working part time. I fully understand that health care costs have risen, but the company has to understand that it cannot simply keep coming back to its patrons with yet another rate increase proposal without doing serious economic harm to the very members who sustain its plans. Continued rate increases such as these will force members like me to abandon our plans completely because we can no longer afford them, leaving us at the mercy of health care crises for which we would have no coverage. I would ask you to please modify this proposal by rejecting it outright or granting the company only a modest proportion of the increase it has requested.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Duane Jundt
    Orange City, IA

  217. Brenda Bogle Says:

    I am making this appeal to the “powers that be” in an effort to reject this rate increase. With literally everything the consumer needs, raising in price, we simply cannot afford another increase for our health insurance. It is getting to the point of not being able to pay premiums; therefore, not being able to have the assurance of health care. Please consider this on the human side. Thank you.
    Brenda Bogle

  218. Carola Oehmsen Vivian Says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    My name is Carola Vivian (WID#007AD8990), I am a Welmark BC/BS consumer, I received a letter notifying me about their proposed increase and the opportunity to comment. I am also a small business owner who is facing the challenging economic times by having to work outside of my business just to make ends meet, many weeks I work upwards of 60 hours per week between both jobs. There’s precious little time to do other things that need doing and I’m just scraping by financially. I still have a mortgage, I have utility bills, and other just basic living bills. Now BC/BS wants to raise my already unaffordable health coverage another min. 9.35%. My current coverage is over $ 500.00 per month and they don’t cover many of the services I should have done regularly. Health insurance rates are unconscionably high already how can you possibly allow them to continue to raise rates when so many of us are struggling just to keep what we’ve got.

    Thank you for letting me have a say.

  219. s a rhodes Says:

    Please don’t approve this proposed increase. It has become increasingly difficult to be a responsible citizen of the United States of America. Insurance has taken over our economy with no relief in sight.

  220. Rick Stewart Says:

    These are my public comments on the request by Wellmark to raise their base premium rates by approximately
    9.35%, with a proposed effective date of April 1, 2012.

    I support the proposed increase, in particular I support the 62% ($15.58) intended to increase profit or retained

    Wellmark is my company. I am a customer, and an owner. I want my company to have a sufficient equity base to
    allow it to weather potential bad times. Retained earnings are necessary to ensure a constant growth of equity over
    time, to keep up with an expanding business (I anticipate Wellmark’s business to grow, due both to increases in
    population and increases in the wonderful medical technology I am anticipating for the future, which will allow me to
    live longer and healthier).

    I do have one additional comment. It seems to me insurance companies in Iowa, Wellmark included, should be
    encouraged to split the products they are selling into their two component parts, in order to reduce confusion in the

    The product I buy is ‘health insurance.’ It carries a large deductible – $5,000 – and will prevent my going bankrupt
    should I experience significant negative health events. It is, actually, insurance.

    Wellmark also sells a product(s) which is a combination of ‘pre-paid health care’ and ‘health insurance.’ However,
    Wellmark has chosen to call this product only by the name of ‘health insurance.’ This has served to confuse
    consumers, and has thus resulted in negative spillover effects for the rest of us. I would even venture to say most of
    the people who buy ‘health insurance’ in Iowa have no idea how much ‘pre-paid health care’ they are purchasing,
    not to mention how much they are paying for it.

    Were these two products unbundled, it would be clearer to consumers exactly how much of each they are buying,
    as well as how much they are paying for each (completely unrelated) product.

    Since Wellmark is a market share leader in Iowa, were they to unbundle these two products the competition would
    probably feel compelled to follow, and all Iowa consumers would benefit.

    This is just a recommendation, of course, and I am in no way implying it would be a good idea to have the
    government, in the form of the Insurance Division, issue any regulations of any sort whatsoever.

    Thank you for the opportunity to speak in favor of the rate increase, and against ‘pre-paid health care’ bundled with
    actual ‘health insurance.’

    Richard W Stewart

    • Vicki B Says:

      Mr. Stewart, I am most upset with over half of the increase of proposed premium to my policy going to increased profits. I’m afraid I’m not interested in increasing your profits when it means that a lot of people may face losing their insurance because they simply can no longer afford it. When people start losing the ability to pay for their insurance, where if your profit going to be then? What is going to happen to “your company” then?

      If 9.35% increase is approved, the 62% to increase “your profit” on my policy will be $48.64!!!! Not $15.58. My entire premium increase would amount to another $78.47 on top of what I am already paying!

      Logic says to me that all of us are also paying for a lot of uninsured people with the ever increasing premiums that are being forced on us.

      The public is being asked to sacrifice all the time with very little or no increase in wages. I am now on Social Security which doesn’t being to cover the premium I already pay. And yet at the same time all of our expenses for food, gas, heat, etc are increasing far more than any of us are earning. Then there are also those who are in danger of losing their homes.

      But then if BCBS is “your company” I guess you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, if you can afford to pay for any medications you might need or whether you can pay for your own insurance. By all means make “your profit” most important and don’t give the rest of us who live in the real world a second thought.

  221. Sue Fischer Says:

    To Whom it may concern-

    I just received the “rate increase” letter from Wellmark Ins. I would like to ask that you DO NOT grant them a rate increase. I am a single person, trying to make a living in a bad economy, and I am paying Wellmark $788 MONTHLY- For a single person! I don’t think it would hurt them to walk in our shoes awhile and try to make a living in rural Iowa at minimum wage, and try to pay bills like this! Plus all the other bills people have. The have NO IDEA! They have people in their offices making tons of money including the CEO! Let them want once and think of the little people out here! thanks- S. Fischer

  222. Anonymous Says:

    I do feel our health insurance cost has sky rocketed. Especially when we get older. I do oppose this rate increase

  223. Victoria Putman Says:

    I am extremely disappointed in the number of rate increases we have endured over the past year. Rates have increased, though
    quality of coverage has not. Any intervention that can be made on the consumer’s behalf that will block future increases is of help.
    Many Iowas cannot afford coverage at the current rates. When rates increase, the number of insured will drop, which will place
    the burden of care on other programs that are already under funded.

    Victoria Putman

  224. Kathleen Jones Says:

    Do NOT allow an increase! Wellmark doesn’t allow my husband and I to be on the same insurance plan. Currently we are paying $19,675.20 a year in premiums for the two of us. There is just no way an increase is fair. We know that Wellmark is attempting to bleed us dry before we qualify for medicare.

  225. David W Wiersbe Says:

    I am writing in response to your letter sent to customers of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa regarding a base premium rate increase. I cannot attend the public meeting on December 10.

    I am against the increase.

    My wife and I have been insured through Wellmark since 1999. In the past 3 years, they have raised rates regularly, so that my monthly premium has increased from about $800 to $1,102. I lost my job earlier this year and now pay for my insurance myself.

    Wellmark placed us in “Pool 4” some years ago, and won’t allow us to move out of it. Nor will they permit us to increase our deductible to lower the premium. We have pre-existing conditions, so applying for other health insurance is out of the question. As I see it, Wellmark has us trapped: when they increase rates, I have no option but to pay the higher rate.

    If you are going to permit them to raise the base premium rate, then require them to open up the “Pools” and require them to allow a higher deductible to contain premium costs.


    David W Wiersbe

  226. June Kuelher Says:

    B.C.B.S. have increased each & every year to make cost nearly out of reach for the individual, but we strive to keep it as we all know it’s a needed evil.

    To aprove an increase every year is wrong & to increase a 9.35% is totally ridiculous. As a consumer & a client with a family I ask your help to keep rates down.

    June Kuelher

  227. Anonymous Says:

    I understand that there is an increase in medical services and admin expenses but the total increase in profit or retained earnings is 62% and that is too big of a jump.

  228. Gary Pedersen Says:

    I am writing you in hopes that you will decline the request from Wellmark for the 9.35% base rate increase. Just last November(2010) they requested a rate increase of 10.8% and it passed and became effective April of this year.
    If this proposed rate passes that would be a 20.15% increase in just two years. Health insurance is skyrocketing and becoming next to impossible to afford.
    Please decline the request for the base rate increase.

  229. Marita Campbell Says:

    I am writing again this year in regard to the recent notice of proposed premium increase by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, which is our healthcare provider.

    At the public hearing on Saturday December 10, 2011, we would like to request that on our behalf you would encourage the Iowa Insurance Commissioner to deny the increase of approximately 9.35% with the proposed effective date of April 1, 2012.

    This new proposed rate increase would make three years in a row that Welmark has increased premiums at such a large rate. In 2010 our premiums increased by 22%. For 2011 they requested a 10.80% increase, with a slighly lower rate approved. With another large increase for 2012 we will be struggling to make our premium payments.

    We currently have the lowest cost, high-deductible health plan offered. Our deductible is $5,100, which we have never met or even come close to. There is nothing we can do to change our policy to reduce our premium costs. They are as low as we can get. My husband and I are in our late 50’s. We do everything we can to help keep costs low. We keep our weight in check, eat healthy, exercise and get our routine wellness exams. We feel we should be rewarded with cheaper rates not with rate increases every year. We do not feel we should be penalized by paying the higher premiums when other people are making unneccesary trips to the E.R. and neglecting their bodys by unheathy diets and sedentary life style.

    OUR RATES HAVE DOUBLED WITHIN THE LAST FIVE YEARS! Being able to afford our premium payments is a huge worry for us. With more large rate increases I fear we may not be able to continue paying our premiums.

    Please help us and thousands of other middle-aged, lower income Iowans by encouraging the commissioner to deny the rate increase.

    Thank you,

    Marita Campbell

  230. Shawn Hook Says:

    I want to disagree and am hoping the increase is declined. I am a teacher and have not found a job. I have been trying to get other health insurance. This will be a financial burden for me as well as other families.

  231. Cal Kohlenberg Says:

    I find it unacceptable that Wellmark is having another rate increase. Especially when they gave Governor Branstead 25 million to help make Iowa more heathy.\

  232. Matt and Brenda Rumery Says:

    To Whom it May Concern:

    I received a letter in the mail stating that our insurance company is proposing an approximate 9.35% increase in our health insurance premiums starting next year. This is outrageous. My husband is a small business owner and we pay health insurance on our own. Already we are paying well over $500 every month for our family. Please advocate to not increase our health premiums. Thank you.

    Matt and Brenda Rumery

  233. Janis N. Morris Says:

    I’m opposing this raise. I wish my insurance rate/premium would not go up of course.

  234. Carolyn Osterman Says:

    We are paying $1400 per month our adjusted income last year was $19,000. We farm. We have applied to get into a different pool but were denied. I have contacted other insurance companies and they would not cover us even though we are in good health. They also raised our premium over $400 per month so we have already had a huge increase. For me 9% increase is steep if they are basing it off what I pay. We feel we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We are limited to having no insurance or struggling to pay the premiums

  235. Shirley Gieselman Says:

    Iowa Insurance Division, Regarding rate increase every year you want more and more!!! Everything go
    up but my pay check. There’s just no end to this. I disagree with the increase I pay my fair share know.

    Shirley Gieselman

  236. Rhonda Kruse Says:

    To Whom It Concerns,

    I’m writing this in regards to notification I received in Oct. 2011 of 9.35% in base rate increase. I was hoping to make it to public mtg. but work comes first. I find this outrageous! I’ve had my policy for 3 years now, it didnt start out to bad but every year its gone up more and more. I currently have a 3000.00 deductible. I quit smoking before I even took out any health insurance and I go to my preventive health checkups every year. So tell me why am I along w/so many others being punished. I cant help it there are people out there who dont take care of their health, obesity has gotten out of hand, etc. Maybe there should be different categories of health insurance , one for those that are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and those who tend to disregard there drs. advice!!! I do not want the government telling me where I can go to dr, nor do I want to keep paying for people who disregard their health . Please do some serious soul searching as individuals on the insurance board and ask yourselves how you feel about it as single individiuals, I’m sure the most of you will come to same conclusion, ITS ROBBERY OF WORKING CLASS CITIZENS. Thank you for your time

    Rhonda Kruse
    Royal, Iowa

  237. Susan DeVries Says:

    I am writing to protest the proposed increase in my Wellmark insurance. As an RN I can certainly appreciate the rising cost of care, however, as a consumer who is one year shy of my medicare benefit I find this amount of increase outrageous! I have to pay my own premium after loosing my job when our nursing home was purchased by a large out of state corporation. It is a real hardship for me as I am widowed and self supporting.
    While a government run single payor system is not popular with the insurance industry they are digging their own grave with increases such as these. If they would stop telling Drs. and Nurses how to practice and let us do what we are prepared to do and not hire so many people to “oversee and review ” we could all save some money. When will the Insurance Commission start regulating the way companies such as Wellmark practice? They need to save on their end first before raising our rates. What about lowering executive salaries and not building such opulent facilities? I have yet to see a “poor” insurance executive but I see MANY including myself who can no longer afford healthcare insurance.

    Susan DeVries, R.N.

  238. Janice Wilson Says:


    Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate,

    I am writing to express my objection to Wellmark’s proposed rate increase.
    I felt lucky to get a 2 % increase in wages and feel 9.35 % on top of the two large increases in the past year or so is out of line.

    Wellmark should strive to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    I am in a position where I need to work a second job just to pay my health insurance premiums so I am definitely interested in the outcome of this rate increase proposal.

    Janice Wilson
    Charles City, IA

  239. Julia Talerico Says:

    This is ludicrous. This is the third rate increase in the past two years. When we took our son off our policy and put him on his own, our rates did not decrease, in fact they increased. I think it is ludicrous for BCBS try to make their consumers think this has nothing to do with their new four block building. Is this BCBS’s way of making sure they get all the rate increases they can before Obama Care helps decrease increase rates? This is ridiculous. What is Wellmark going to do? Are they going to listen to the people? Is this a game they’re playing to make us think they care what we have to say?

  240. Dawn D. Pope Says:

    I am a 50 year old woman that carries the insurance on my husband & myself.

    My husband is 48 years old & is employed through Man Power. He could get insurance through his previous employer – but it’s a COBRA policy. Which is WAY TOO exspensive for ANYONE!

    There for I have Blue Cross & Blue Sheild on us. (which my agent says is the CHEAPEST company there is).

    I work as a Certified Nurses Aide. And we don’t make alot of money. As it is – I live pay check to pay check.

    If insurance companies continue to raise their rates -how do they expect people to afford them? I’m already paying almost $585.00 a month!!!

    I say “NO!” to the increase on our rates. I’m sure ALOT of people agree with me on the “DO NOT RAISE OUR RATES” idea. Alot of us won’t be able to afford it. Then we’ll have to drop our policies. THEN what are we to do???

    Some one has to put their foot down & stop these insurance increases!!!


    Dawn D. Pope

  241. H.L Andrews Says:

    (Consumer Advocate Note: this comment was sent in via USPS)

    Dear Sirs;

    First I would like to thank everyone for this opportunity to communicate in good old fashioned writing on paper. Many of us don’t have computers; I’m lucky to afford a typewriter, but it’s getting real hard to find ribbons or service for this old (’76) machine. I have no computer, fax machine, cell phone, TV, & many other luxuries, but I get along.

    I severely question another health insurance rate increase until we see a much more serious commitment to cost efficiency in the health care industry – hospitals, clinics, insurance companies & government.

    I am shocked & appalled at the opulence & extravagance at these facilities. It appears that the health care industry is trying to win some kind of Art Contest, awards for architects, or just plain “keeping up with the Joneses”, or being the Joneses.

    For 40 years I was in the food business in Iowa, helping to feed hungry people. We found that nine out of ten (90%) of people in IA could not afford to buy the food that would maintain long term health. Livestock eat better than most people we served here in IA.

    To help our customers better afford the solid foods their health needed, we operated out of the simplest, most humble, most efficiently designed & constructed, NO FRILLS facilities. We used re-cycled fixtures, fittings & equipment wherever possible. We & our employees used our spare time – evenings, weekends, holidays, to help with this effort to keep things simple & affordable for our customers.

    This effort extended to our private lives. We voluntarily lived under the poverty line to benefit our customers – living in the most humble dwellings, wearing the simplest clothing, driving old cars (Fords mostly), eating the simplest home-cooked foods – NO “eating out” for us – EVER.

    We appreciated living in America, & enjoying what most people in the world would consider unbelievable luxury: graded, graveled, passable roads; electricity; clean running cold & hot well water; crime-free environment; tight buildings; cars & trucks & affordable fuel; & many other simple aids to simple but adequate quality life & work.

    Not until health care workers, both private sector & public sector, from the top levels of management on down, are living & working much more efficiently, should they receive more compensation.

    If I can live near the poverty line for the benefit of my customers & fellow citizens, anyone can.


    H.L. Andrews
    Boone, IA

  242. Steve Schell Says:

    I very much object to the proposed increase Wellmark is asking for, and face it, will get. My costs to Wellmark in 2011 were $131.40. What I paid, and partly due to the increase you granted them last year, was $4134.90. How can this be construed as even close to fair? I don’t ask Wellmark to pay for any of the medications I take; that is all out of my pocket. I canceled an MRI because it was just more than I could pay. I have put off having a procedure done for the same reason. It is not a life threatening procedure, but one that must eventually be done. And this is due to the fact that I have to keep increasing my deductible to keep my insurance affordable. I receive IPERS and there is no cost-of-living increases- ever. Social Security has had no increases the past two years and is going up only about 3% next year. And Wellmark wants a 9.35% increase? I know mine will be higher than that; it always is.

    I do everything I can to use my Wellmark judiciously; I am always rewarded with a huge increrase in my premiums. Why not give incentives for those of us who do not misuse or overuse our insurance? All I am asking for is a little fairness in the system.

    Thank you, Steve Schell

  243. Charlotte Andreasan Says:

    My comment is that we cannot afford for my insurance to go higher becuase my husband is bedridden and can’t work. As it is I’m overcharged because they are not paying for anything. I’ve been forced to lower my insurance and now they hardly pay for anything. I just can’t afford this. I get less for what I pay. I barely use it. This is just insane. We are struggling. We are 61 years old.

  244. Susan Mullen Says:

    If this rate increase goes through, I’m going to drop my coverage because I can’t afford it!

  245. Anonymous Says:

    I would like to say please vote no on the i rate increase. Our income is not increasing as fast as these rate increases are. Again, please vote no.

  246. Brenda and Terry Says:

    My husband and I just can’t afford the increase that they are proposing again. Our benefits that our policy gives are’t worth justifing an increase. SAY NO!!!!

  247. Michael Ahrendt Says:

    November 26, 2011

    Dear Commissioner,

    I would like to respectfully request that you deny Wellmark their rate increase of 9.35%. Wellmark has had a number of rate increases besides the base rate. We have all had our fill of Wellmark’s number one reason because you are another year older you get a rate increase. I understand that we all have varied health risks at different points in our life every 10, 20, and 30 years. That is the reason for actuaries.
    Wellmark does not need a 20% return on their investment. Maybe they need to become more efficient. I run my own business on one percent profit margin. The United States growth is 2.2%; it is not reasonable to give a 9.35% rate increase to Wellmark in these economic times. They have too many rate increases-base rate, variable rate, age rate, and health risk factors!

    Thank you,

    Michael Ahrendt
    Sioux City, IA 51104

  248. Marilyn Whitaker Says:

    I don’t think it’s fair that they are asking for another increase this year and it looks like most is going for profit rather than medical expenses. Because of the economy it is harder and harder to make ‘ends meat’ and this will really be hard on a lot of people.








  250. Sarah Johnson Says:

    I’m writing in regard to the proposed rate increase for Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance premium.

    I don’t understand why Insurance Companies can brag about the profit they are making and Adevertize commercials on TV. (Which are very expensive) and sponsor all kinds of events and every year want more rate increases for insurance coverage.

    They had a 9%-something raise last year and years before – when my husband and I started with Blue Cross in 1998 the premium for both of us was only $240 a month – The last year my husband and I had a policy together the premium went to almost $1500 a month. Now I’m on it by myself and the premium right now is almost $900.00 a month. My only source of income now is social security at $712.00 a month. Our saving is going real fast, just to pay Insurance premiums. If you don’t have any savings, you simply can’t afford insurance.

    I’d like to know what the Insurance Co. does with the money that you (us policy holders) pay in- but do not have any claims to use up the money you pay for your premium. That’s why they can pay big CEO fee?

    Maybe Insurance Companys would be better off to investigate Doctors & hospitals for some of the charges they charge.

    Another thing I don’t understand is- when you have a Dr or Hospital bill- the Insurance Co. gets them to lower the price of the bill. Why can’t they just charge the lower rates in the first place and then they wouldn’t look like such crooks.

    I have probably wasted my time writing this but a least I got it off my chest.

    If they keep raising premiums- no one will be able to afford them at all.

    Sarah Johnson

  251. Patrica Massengale Says:

    I’m against the increase. I’ve changed my insurance to where I have a higher deductible for a lower premium. Sometimes I need to go to the doctor and I don’t go, whereas I know some people who go all the time. I disagree with having to have a rate increase.

  252. Tim Brien Says:

    I worked for Polk County and am now retired and responsible for my own premiums. They’re $533 a month – my income is about $3500 monthly. Projecting until I am 65 it seems that premiums increase 10%. I’ll probably check with BCBS for another policy – seems like this increase is more than the rate of inflation – I’d rather have 10% a year rather than 18% one year and who knows what the next.

  253. Sherry Bechtel Says:

    Notice of Public Hearing on proposed base rate premiujm increase.
    Really hate to tell you where do you think the money for the increase will come from? As of now I pay around $300.00 a month. With a deductible of around $2500.00 a year. So adding these two together it comes to give or take $9000.00 before insurance pays anything. The insurance pays for the first Monogram, put guess what , Myself and another person had to go back in for a repeat and guess what it was our bill totally. It almost seems like a plan. Insurance pay for the first and when repeated the insured pays.

    I do not go in because I pay $300.00 a month and they just take tests and I pay more money. The only people who use to make out was government workers and now it is only our elected official and their employees. Everyone else is losing , Senator Charles Grassly said at a town meeting if we wanted the same insurance he has get a government job the next day there was 300 people asking for a government job. What does that tell you.

    I do not want mandated insurance I want insurance that will pay with out a headache. We thought age was not suppose to be use to increase or as a mandate. Every year there is an increase because we are in a different age group. No kidding , if you do not grow old you are dead then who cares what the insurance cost.

    Sherry Bechtel

    Mailing to the following offices

    Governor Terry Branstad, Sen. Charles Grassley, Sen. Tom Harkins, Tom Latham

  254. Tammy Chapman Says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing this ‘comment’ in response to the proposed rate increase in Wellmark’s insurance premiums. In today’s economic times, less and less of the money our household brings in can actually be used for day to day necessities. We are a family of 5, and have 4 insured under a private Wellmark plan that we buy directly from Wellmark BC/BS. We currently pay $597.60 per month to have insurance coverage for one adult male age 34 non-smoker, and 3 children ages 8, 5 and 1. Our deductible is $1250 per person per year. Our copay is 10% and our coinsurance is 20%. I like to think of myself as a pretty sensible consumer when it comes to taking my kids to the doctor unnecessarily. I have a one year old that I have never taken in because she was ill. Her immunizations alone cost me $10.10 for a copay for the office doctor visit, and then approximately $75 in coinsurance after insurance has paid their portion. So if you count up well-baby checks and immunizations in the first year of life alone, we have spent an additional $350 (approx) on top of our outrageous monthly premiums. This is just one of my kids. My older kids I don’t take to the doctor for every little thing either, like I said I like to think I use pretty good common sense when it comes to that.

    Last year our premium went up 9% I think. Wow. That was a big jump in itself, let alone one year later they are proposing another 9.35% (%25.15 per month). My pay has gone up approximately 4% over the past 2 years, which in today’s economy I feel really lucky to have received an increase at all!! That pales in comparison to the 18.35 percent increase in insurance premiums, and it appears as though most of the increase is going in the pockets of the big-wigs (62%-serioiusly?). WRONG! ETHICALLY AND MORALLY WRONG!!! Our family does not qualify for Hawk-I or Medicaid, so we are stuck in the middle. Middle class citizens’ budgets are being squeezed to death by ever-increasing rates in insurance, just to keep their family healthy and basically to cover if something major were to happen to someone.
    I, personally, am insured through my employer, but even to have my whole family on my plan is not affordable. That is why we choose to buy a plan directly from Wellmark for my husband and children.

    Insurance companies are getting away with too much already with their antics of not covering things that they should and raising their rates however much they want to. Well, I’m commenting to tell you, I can’t afford an increase in insurance and I feel that many of my income-comparable peers are feeling the same way. If rates continue to rise this way, there will be many more uninsured or under-insured children in this state and I don’t think that is the public health goal.

    Thank you for your time.
    Tammy Chapman

  255. Paul Leinen Says:

    In Feb. 2009 I sold business and rolled into Alliance at $800 per month April 2009 it went up to $999 per month, April 2011 went up again to $1182 per month and now they are proposing another rate increase of 9.5%. The company will raise it more that 9.5 %. From Feb. 2009-2011 my insurance went up 47%. I don’t know what causes it but in my business my income did not go up 47%.

  256. Donna Bauer Says:

    A rate increase of 9.5% that Blue Cross of Iowa is proposing is totally irresponsible–especially in an economy with low inflation and a time when people can only get 1% or less on their savings.

    Blue Cross of Iowa has just built a huge new building in Des Moines so obviously their business is flourishing when many Iowans are not.

  257. Betty Eggers Says:

    I wanted to voice my opinion on the premium increase. I just think its getting so out of hand. Premiums are going up so high that people cannot afford to keep their insurance. I pay my insurance out of pocket. Its getting hard to make ends meet.

  258. Sheryl McLain Says:

    Regarding the notice of public hearing on Proposed Base Rate Premium Increase I am writing to put in my complaint. Wellmark has increased our health insurance before every premium is due and once it increased twice before the next premium was due!!!!!!!!!!! Is this the help we are getting from the president’s health reform???!!! I am ready to drop insurance – how can the common person afford to keep it?
    s mclain

  259. Vern Postma Says:

    I think any increase it too much. Last year my rates increase $380 a month and between me and my wife, over $16,000 a year. Any increase is getting to be impossible. I request no increase.

  260. Terry Hay Says:

    If this 9.35% is approved it will increase my premiums by nearly 50% since Jan. 2009. Imagine congress raising your taxes by 47%. How about the utility company raising your water or electric rates by 47%! What if your heating bill rose from $218 a month to $320?

    Pretty unconscionable isn’t it! Yet Wellmark expects us to believe this increase is necessary. I figure I’m a typical client of Wellmark. I file claims for prescription drugs and annual doctor visits. In the past 24 months my claims have totaled $1264.6. I paid $318 while Wellmark paid $385.05. The balance of $588.50 is listed as “network savings”, not paid by Wellmark (I consider this overcharges by the provider, but that’s another subject). My premiums for those 24 months totaled $6504.

    One could say that Wellmark was billed for nearly 20% of my premiums (leaving them 80%). You could also say that Wellmark paid a little more than 5% of my premiums to providers (leaving them with almost 95%).

    With the 170K clients Wellmark boasts, this leaves a huge amount after the 90% they claim goes to paying direct medical expenses. (Is that 90% figured on billings charges?)

    The difference between the overall 90% and my personal 5% tells me 1) there’s a lot of sick people out there, or 2) Wellmark’s methodology for justifying another rate increase is extremely suspect.

    I would ask that the justification be scrutinized very closely and any rate increase granted exclude any profit increase. Obviously Wellmark’s balance sheet isn’t covered with red ink. It’s high time this insurance provider tightens it’s belt like the rest of us.

    Executive compensation and bonus’s might be a good place to start. Any new expenses like the “Taj Mahal” headquarters should be put on hold. Those “consolidation savings” were lost on the lavishness of the new building. And those incessant monthly mailings that attempt to sway me into believing they need more money (and lobbyist costs) can’t be cheap!

    One last thing, Wellmark’s claim that no premiums monies where used to finance the new building is an insult. Whether monies came from cash reserves, borrowing or investment returns, the bucks originated with premiums paid by clients.

  261. Mari Schultes Says:

    To whom this concerns,

    There is no reason to raise rates on policy holders. It has been my experience that Blue Cross/Blue Shield pays much less than most hospital bills. How I know? I had a massive accident a year ago and the bill was $52,000–Blue Cross/ Blue Shield paid $23,000. The hospital had to be satisfied with that. I’m happy I can still afford my insurance and very happy I had insurance but I will be very unsure I will have insurance with another rate increase. Please don’t hit the middle class any harder–deny the rate increase. If the company pays hospital costs at such a reduced rate–there is no need to increase rates.

    Thank you.
    Mari Schultes

  262. Ann Klees Says:

    To the Iowa Insurance Advocate: Dec 2 2011

    The Wellmark projected premium increase requested for 2012 comes after a series of increases that have brought our insurance costs to $13943.00 premium plus $7400 deductible and copay per year.The requested 62 percent increase in retained earnings for shareholders raises my monthly premium by $18.60 not including the raise for the medical portion. It raises my husband’s by $59.00 total.

    My husband and I have separate policies because his diabetes excluded him from my policy. The percent increases from 2009 are as follows: 14.2 percent 56 percent and 11.32 percent on his; 22, 22, and 8.5 percent on mine. The proposed rate increases for 2012 are 7.03 percent on his and 9.35 percent on mine.That means we would be paying $15,012.00 per year plus the copay and deductible! We are self employed dairy farmers, my husband recently suffered a stroke, and we had to sell our main means of support, the cows.

    I realize the above example is relevant only to me, but I suspect there are many other insured people who have simular situations. I also believe that the insurance companies have posted high profits for the last few years.

    Please do not allow this increase to take effect,we pay premiums to insurance companies so that health care costs will not bankrupt us,not to line the pockets of the shareholders. Right now they are doing both.

    Thank you for considering my input.

    Ann Klees
    Waterville, Ia.

  263. Matt Rehder Says:

    I can only echo the many comments left before me, but for the sake of the number crunchers, please add my family of six (ages 8 – 47) to the list of discouraged Wellmark policy holders. While the value of a healthy family and keeping them that way is priceless, paying over $1600 per month (presently) for a little used insurance policy is fast becoming a drain on the family’s other needs. This redistribution of wealth through insurance has got to stop.

    Matt Rehder

  264. Craig Steenhard Says:

    I am writing to express my thoughts on the base rate increase to 9.35% effected April, 1, 2012.

    If you look at the economy, how and why are you raising insurance premiums AGAIN? To my knowledge, there are no jobs paying a 9.35% increase in wages, so how can people afford this increase in their health insurance? In my opinion, stop giving people free insurance to people and start taking care of the people who are paying their insurance and have to work full-time to afford this. I know some of this isn’t in your control and it’s a lot of politics but it’s hard to come up with that extra money when we don’t see wage increases and the economy isn’t where it needs to be.

    I hope you take in consideration my thoughts and questions.

    Thank you
    Craig Steenhard

  265. Francis B. Says:

    At the time I first took out a policy it was only $60 a month. It eventually went up to over $400 a month. I then had to reduce that policy in benefits to something I can afford. Now this policy will be over $400 a month. Its getting to the point where individuals are having to choose between paying for insurance or buying food.

    Big pharmaceuticals are making billions of dollars in profit, but will be lowering their rates into keep people from moving to generic drugs. Why can’t Wellmark do the same.

    With the depression we are going through right now and people having problems finding jobs, how can they raise rates. Do they not realize we are going through a depressed area?

  266. sarah elliott Says:

    BCBS…heavy on the BS part….in reading the many posts above, I cannot find ONE SINGLE COMMENT that gives you any reason whatsoever to raise our premiums, other than for your benefit! NO ONE HERE CAN AFFORD ANOTHER RAISE…and by the looks of these comments, you certainly do not deserve one!

    If you raise our costs, you are going to see a large percentage of your monthly premiums drop off considerably. People will make the decision to drop their health care and feed themselves.
    THAT’S WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW! That’s what I will do and I will encourage others to do the same. If enough of us drop our insurance, someone, somewhere, will take notice because suddenly, there’s no “fun money”!

    I whole-heartedly resent the fact that my divorce settlement is going directly into your pocket. Are you enjoying my money? I certainly am not…and because of increased health care costs, my children won’t see a dime of it. YOU ARE NOT MY INHERITORS!!!

    Being sick has now become a privilege in IOWA!!!
    You have reduced the middle class to the lower class by pricing yourselves and us, right out of life, liberty and the pursuit of wellness.

    Hope you have a great holiday bash, on our dollars!
    The last segment of the seasons program “the big C” comes to mind here…everyone watch it.

    Sarah Elliott
    Osage, IA.

  267. sarah elliott Says:

    As a single parent, I pay $6300/year for a pre-existing condition that over a quarter of this population suffers from, JUST MYSELF!!!
    No eye care, no dental care, no unsightly mole removal..THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT ENABLE US TO HAVE BASIC LIVES!!! Seeing, eating, trying to look good…you deny us these basics!!!???

    What has this world come to?

    I used to live in Saudi Arabia, on the Aramco compound.
    Let me tell you something…UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE WORKS!!!
    With a small amount deducted from monthly pay checks, our family of four and everyone IN THAT COUNTRY received HIGH QUALITY health care and free prescripted medications every day of the week for as long as we lived there…and even when we moved to America for his employment, our health care was free!!!
    If I had known how expensive health care was going to be, upon divorce, I’d’ve stayed married and taken the risk!

    It astounds me that that country, with our oil dollars supporting it, can afford to GIVE IT’S CITIZENRY free health care! Are you getting this? Our money is giving another country the privilege of FREE HEALTH CARE!
    What is wrong with this picture, people?

  268. Matt McCue Says:


    I am a Wellmark health insurance policy holder and I got the letter about the intended rate base increase. I am 100% opposed to the rate base increase. At a time when the economy is still hurting, as are the American people, Wellmark is trying to squeeze every last drop it can get from us, it appears. This is the second time they’ve tried to increase their rate base in recent memory. The first time it worked, and if they do it again I will find other coverage because they can’t keep their word and honor the contract we agreed upon.

    Matt McCue

  269. Bonnie Van Cleave Says:

    To Whom It Concerns:
    I am expressing my concern as a customer who pays my premiums individually about the proposed rate increase. I have received these increases at least once, if not twice a year, and I am beginning to feel that the premiums do not reflect the cost of coverage. While I have been unemployed for the last six months, news reports show that Wellmark has amassed egregious amounts of profit. I feel that in this economy, I am not the only one this causes severe hardship. I don’t feel it’s too much to ask that Wellmark puts even a fraction of their profits back into their product/service.
    I vehemently disagree with any further rate increases until/unless the economy improves drastically. I feel that this is their attempt to “weed out” individual customers with outrageous rates before any new legislation is enacted to require fairness in healthcare.
    The Lab Rat in the Bureaucratic Cage
    A.K.A. Bonnie S. Van Cleave

  270. Jan Rahmani Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam:
    I would like to urge you to refuse the requested 9.35% rate increase. The public has had to absorb so many recent increases in our health insurance premiums.
    This has been a severe drag on small business hiring, on consumer spending, even leading to increased numbers of uninsured. Our family, in order to continue
    to afford health insurance at all, finally elected to go to major medical coverage last year. Of course, our son who is in college, then had an incident which has
    cost us ever bit of our $5500.00 deductible, this on top of his college tuition, which,of course also goes up every year. We are nearing retirement age and it is
    just such strains on our budget which mean we cannot save what we should towards retirement.
    Fact – there is just so much one can squeeze out of the family budget. In order to not force more folks to go without health insurance, you should not
    allow the base rate increase Blue Cross/Blue Shield is asking for.
    I hope you will carefully consider the economic conditions in Iowa, the number of rate increases already granted in recent years as well as any arguments
    Blue Cross Blue Shield will undoubtedly make about increased health costs before making a decision to allow the increase. Thank you for your careful consideration.

    Jan Rahmani
    Red Oak, IA

  271. Linda Cunningham Says:

    First let me thank you for allowing us, the insured, the opportunity to express our opinion of the yearly ever rising cost of our insurance premiums. I can only speak for myself when I say that these premiums eat up my entire widows pension. I have also give up my computer, phone, and cable to make ends meet. I know this is of little concern to your company, but I believe I am speaking for all insured persons when I ask you to please cease the enormous yearly increases of our premiums…Let this be enough!

    I appreciate the chance to convey my thoughts on this very important issue which affect all who are insured with you!


    Linda Cunningham

  272. Cheryl Weddell Says:

    To Whom it May Concern,

    In regards to the premium increase from Wellmark, the thought of an increase at this time for me & many others would be a great financial burden.

    Myself, after 2 years of be unemployed, I started cleaning houses, I love doing it, but I’m only at half the people I need to be back at fulltime.

    I have only been to the doctor I think 4 or 5 times – all minor things, sinus infection, ear infection – nothing that would warrant an increase & I believe there are many others like me.

    Also, in Prevention magazine they had an article that women are charged 84% higher premiums than men. I’ve never smoked, done drugs or drink. I take care of myself, have never been overweight. This should count for something.

    And perhpas if they hadn’t spent all that money on a new building that would have kept costs down.

    Please listen to the people & do not give them an increase.

    Thank you for your time.


    Cheryl Weddell

  273. Terry Says:

    I took out a BC/BS policy in Jan. 2010. It covered medical, dental, prescriptions and vision for a reasonable premium . In April 2010 my premium jumped 18% per month ( well over their “proposed rate increase). This year my premium is up another 13% and I’ve been forced to drop dental and vision, as well as increase my deductible. Now I’m looking at another 9.5% increase!! That will put monthly premium increase at nearly 47% in just 27 months-even after dropping dental, dropping vision and increasing my deductible nearly 20 fold.

    How could anyone, in good conscience, approve such increases? How much of this 9.5% is going to dividends? How much will be used to provide executive bonus’? Given the new quarter billion dollar building, Wellmark is obviously operating in the black. The rate increase isn’t justified and I certainly hope regulators see that.

    2012 may mean I join the ranks of the uninsured, not by choice, but because I’ve been priced out of the market.

  274. Liz Matis Says:

    December 6, 2011

    To Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate,

    I received the Notice of Proposed Base Rate of my Premium Increase and would like to make my comments known prior to the hearing.

    I am a 61 years old Widow and have been paying the total amount of my premiums since I enrolled. I have been blessed to have excellent health and my insurance costs to Wellmark have been for prescriptions and preventive care. I just received a notice that Wellmark will no longer cover once a year Preventive Eye Care which was part of my policy.

    With the annual increases I incur and the cancellation of Preventive Eye Care, this new proposed increase will present a greater burden on my limited monthly income. I do not nor have I ever gone to the Dr. for trivial issues. I know that there are those out there that don’t take into consideration how medical visits can effect the overall insurance costs for everyone.

    I am sure you will be hearing some of these same concerns as the hearing goes forward. The rate increase of 9.35% may not seem like much, but to those of us on a fixed income it will have a huge effect.

    I am asking The Commissioner to deny Wellmark’s request for this increase.

    Thank you for your consideration in this important matter.


    Liz Matis

  275. Connie S. Says:

    My husband is self employed. We have this insurance, becuase I have cancer and no one else will take us. We are stuck. My cancer is stage 4.

    The amount that we pay is $1,238 per month and we just can’t afford it anymore. We are not asking for a handout, we want to be covered by insurance. We pay our deductibles every year, but this is getting out of hand. Last year or the year before, they raised our rates by $500 – $600. This just continues to grow. In this economy we cant afford this increase. Our income is not going up in the amounts they are raising their rates.

    maybe the insurer needs to negotiate down medical expenses instead of passing the expenses on to us.

    Because of health issues, I cannot attend this hearing, but I would certainly love to attend to say this in person.

    The insurance commissioner needs to understand there are plenty of proud people here, who want to do the right thing.

    Connie S.

  276. Steve Smith Says:

    I’m calling to voice strong opposition to increase our premiums. I have a 37% increase in the last 2 years and I have a high deductible. For me to pay another base rate increase puts us in a poor financial situation. Those of us who pay premiums are forced to bear the weight for those who do not. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act health insurance has become unaffordable.

  277. Margaret Harris Says:

    December 6, 2011

    Margaret Harris
    Slater, IA 50244

    Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate
    Iowa Insurance Division
    330 Maple Street
    Des Moines, IA 50309

    Dear Iowa Insurance Advocate:

    I just recently bought my Wellmark policy and before I have even paid my first premium I have received this notice of a rate increase. This is very disturbing as I have not even yet had a claim.

    I would like to discuss a program called the Physician Quality Reporting Incentive program which is supported by funding from Wellmark. In this program certain guidelines such as hypertension, diabetes control, and immunizations are reported to Wellmark through electronic medical records. I am specifically referring to a program that I am familiar with through Iowa Health Systems. With information received from electronic medical records Wellmark is able to track many areas of healthcare. For instance, if a child is missing an immunization this information is pointed out on a report to that physician and that physician’s staff then notifies the parent or patient that an immunization is due. If a patient has a diagnosis of hypertension then Wellmark tracks that patient’s blood pressure and makes sure it is in a compliance range. And what is in it for the physicians, management and staff? The physicians are rewarded with a large incentive payment. Management also gets a portion of this reward. The staff in turn gets a small portion. All this money is spent for a physician to do the job that he was paid to do even before such incentives were in the picture.

    Let us look at the usefulness of this program in regards to immunizations. If a child comes in for his one year check up or any well child visit, his physician should be checking to make sure that child is up to date on all immunizations. If a child is in daycare an immunization card is required and that is another way to double check if all immunizations are current. When a child enters the school system their immunizations are once again checked to make sure everything is in order. Do we really need Wellmark to be paying an incentive to meet this guideline?

    Wellmark is taking my premium, that of a middle class worker and paying a physician to make sure I stay in certain guidelines. This is something I would hope my physician would have the integrity and commitment to do without Wellmark’s incentive. Eliminating this payment to physicians, management and staff should not affect patient care and would go far in making such a premium increase unnecessary.


    Margaret Harris

  278. Melissa Brown Says:

    For the third year in a row, I am once again called to protest Wellmark’s proposed base rate of premium increase, as notified in October, 2011.

    My parents, who always said you must, must, must have health insurance, would be horrified to learn that this is the year I will be forced to drop my insurance with Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield due to the increasing cost. My insurance has gone up 31% in two years, and with this increase, my insurance will have increased 40% in 3 years.

    It is obvious that BC/BS is trying to deter me from coverage with them, making my premium so high as to be impossible to pay. If my rate goes up this additional 9%, I will be using 65% of my Social Security for health insurance.

    In the year 2011, I have been to the doctor twice, once for a mammogram and once for an eye infection. I have never, ever met my deductible. I am not obese. Why must I be involved in an across the board rate increase? What is the point of maintaining my health, doing my part to keep my costs down, refraining from doctor appointments if I get a rate increase every single year?

    Melissa Brown

  279. Barbara J. Andersen Says:

    Dear Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate,

    I am a Wellmark health insurance customer and I am very much opposed to the proposed base rate premium increase. The rates are too high already and were increased unreasonably in 2010 already by about 33%. I have been underemployed and unemployed for the last four years and cannot really afford any health insurance, let alone the high rates of Wellmark. My policy covers next to nothing – no dental coverage and $20-40 copays on doctor visits. It is time for the 99% of Iowans to say no to Wellmark’s greed and that’s what I am doing. Please deny this proposed rate increase.


    Barbara J. Andersen

  280. Brian Moyna Says:

    i oppose the rate increase as proposed. i think it is way out of line. history, however, has shown that every year wellmark is granted its rate increase. so either the system is corrupt, or everyone in the state agrees to pay more. i tend to believe this “board” is on the take from the insurance company. i will protest this rate increase, i will speak my mind. and when wellmark increases its rates anyway, i will be forced to go someplace else for my insurance needs. here’s why:

    1. the proposed increase of 9.35% turns out to be $18.12. this is insane. my monthly premium is $45 a month. now, according to my math 9.35% of $45 is $4.21 that much i can afford. however, $18 is more like a 40% increase.
    2. i started this policy 5 years ago for the cost of $30 a month. after this passes my rates will have more than doubled in six years. $45 + $18 = $63. six years ago a gallon of gas cost around $2.12. average gas price now is around $3.37. i know my pay rate has not doubled in six years, i know my homes value hasnt doubled in six years, but my insurance has.

    the insurance companies are out of control, we the people expect our officials to look out for our best interest. do the right thing here and block this increase. step out of the shadow of corporate greed and into the light of public service. healthcare in this country is in shambles, costs are sky rocketing and its driving many people into their GRAVE. those who cant afford insurance have to go without, and guess what happens then, bankruptcy, pain and suffering and finally death.

    stop these greedy corporate monsters who have nothing in mind but generating profit, according to this worksheet wellmark is asking for a 22% increase in profits.

    i oppose these rate increases. please vote no.

    Brian Moyna

  281. Ivy Joyner Says:

    My name is Ivy Joyner. I am writting to express my point of view of the Proposed Base Rate Premium Increase, It is Wrong! Every year it goes up in Price, I work at McDonalds, I don’t make that much so every time ya all decide to raise the rate I have less and less left over after Paying my Insurance to be able to live, I buy the groceries, I have meds I have to take so that takes money, A house to keep up with, A Person should have some left over after takeing care of what needs to be done to be able to splurge once in a while on a dinner out or something not be broke from Pay Check to Pay Check because every year the Insurance goes up.

    I understand we need Insurance but it is rediculous! I feel that it’s all I go to work for everyday is too Pay Insurance and nothing else!

    Yes, I was born premature and required a Hydrocephalus shunt in the right side of my head, A pre existing condition as ya all call it, For some they may have problems with whatever their condition may be, I on the other hand have only had my shunt replaced ONE time in 98′ after 21 years of my old ond that went into the juglar Vein. There for I am not all the other People like you may think I am! I don’t go to the Dr unless I absolutely need too!

    I know in the statements we get when it is about to go up Age is always mentioned, In my opinion Just because a Person ages does not mean they always go to the dr. every 5 seconds!

    I have written Senator Grassley, Senator Harkin, Congressman Boswell, even got a letter from you all in reponse to Senator Harkin where you say it’s Justafied to raise Premium high and higher, Well, whatever your reason is let me ask you this – How do you expect us to Pay our premiums? A Person that is out in the world working their behinds off to make ends meet ask for help and can’t get any, Let me tell you that if I diden’t think I needed some help I would not be writting Congressmen and Senators telling my story in hope of some kind of help! I wasen’t raised to be on welfare like some that are perfectly fine to get up off their couch and go find a Job but are too lazy to do so!

    Then there are People who absolutely cannot work because of a disability or illness who are honestly in need of help and cant get it but there are the ones as I said before who can get a Job but won’t, the [ ] is can’t be helped because don’t have kids, are not a certain age, can walk, Talk, had no visable Problem there for are turned down, This I have alwasy thought to be bull! I don’t write Senateors and Congressmen Just because…! I write becaue I have a Point of Veiw and feel I need help. The Premiums have lowered in the Past but not for Very long I might add! Then up they go again! It is not my fault there are too many claims going through or whatever you say in the letter I got from you last year.

    I am so sorry that you and Welmark feel as if the money comes from your Personal Pocket, my veiw is that it’s the insrance’s company to do so because it’s their Job – Not like a Person Plans to be sick or have a pre-existing condition when he or she is born! I do understand it takes money to do what Welmark does but it still doesen’t come from their Personal Pocket! I Pay enuf in Premiums that they should lend help instead of makeing it impossible to Pay Insurance and Then be expected to live other wise!

    We need Insurance true, But come on! Being able to Pay it. Really?!!!

    Once again I don’t ask for any kind of help unless I feel I need it I was Just raise that way.

    They are always saying on the news that the president or whoever are working to lower health care cost and so on, Well where is it?!

  282. Ivy Joyner's husband Says:

    I like to say something on the be 1/2 of my wife. Where is this money going anyway? If you choose the doctors, why? They are already rich, why give them more money. Population is growing, they can get their money that way and not raise rate.

    I also understand the technology is their. And again, the population can be used to pay for these things.

    My wife is 35 years old, how do you expect her to enjoy life if you keep raising rates every year? I know she not the only one in this world with problem. But something has to be done. I alway thought, the more you raise the rate, the better chance of her NOT getting insurance. Imagine yourself in her shoes, wondering what it be like when she’s retired (in her 60s or 70s). The premium would be so high, she might as well let the symptom kill her then let doctor take care of her.

    I would rather raise the rate every five years or so. THE POPULATION IS GROWING. Keep the rate same for everyone. Somewhere around $20 to $45 every five years or so.

    I do have to use my money to help for her insurance. That taking my money away from me to pay for other bills.

  283. Becki Christensen Says:


    I just want to go on record that I am disappointed once gain in a rate increase. There is something drastically wrong with our health care system, although it should be called sick care system. When will we start focusing on how to keep people well? I’d also like to see people become accountable for themselves.

    I am self-employed and have been for most of my adult life, around 37 years out of my nearly 62, so I pay for my own health insurance. I tell you what, if everyone had to be responsible to keep themselves healthy so they can work, they would do everything in their power to be accountable regarding their health (and finances). If I am sick, I can’t work, and then can’t pay my bills. Fortunately, I stay well and healthy, or maybe it is more of what I create in my belief system.

    Where is the real problem with soaring health care costs? There must be a middle man somewhere that is making a ton of money off the U.S. being sick! Find that, and you can fix whatever is wrong with health care being costly and our nation not really being that healthy!

    Becki Christensen
    Ames, Iowa

  284. Joan Grissel Says:

    Dear Insurance Advocates:

    I want to express how concerned I am with the continued base rate yaerly increases that have been allowed to take place with our health care premiums. With the condition of the economic down turn in our country we need you to stand up for our welfare and hold down these costs that exceed our incomes growth. The cost of living in our country is escalating far beyond our earning power and the insurance companies are a big factor in those costs. Each and every year you see new insurance buildings being built with luxurious offices and corporate leaders taking home incomes we can only dream about. There needs to be a cap on yearly increases and open insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. Many American today have to make choices of buying Health Insurance or paying their heating bill or buying food for their families. We are all in need of your help!


    Joan Grissel

  285. Debb Vandehaar-Arens Says:

    Over the past 3 years in which we have had our own personal Wellmark policy (not paid for by an employer), our insurance premiums have risen 15-30% EACH year.

    It seems to me that Wellmark is trying to make excessive money now to make up for the amount they will lose when the Obamba Healthcare system is fully in place.

    Please study the rising costs that they are claiming they are experiencing to see if they have accurately figured these expenses or if they have inflated them.

    This increase in insurance premiums should not be allowed.

    Thank you.
    Debb Vandehaar-Arens

  286. Kathy Cullen Says:

    I am writing to urge a stop to the outrageous annual rate increases. They say they propose a base increase of 9.35% but my increases have totaled over 20% for EACH of the last two years. They say that the additional percentage you pay can be adjustments for age and plan benefit design. Well I haven’t made any changes to my plan since day one they have continued to make amendments to our plans limiting coverages almost every year. I entered the new “age” bracket (turned 60 in March of 2011). So why did my premiums jump from a 9.9% increase in 2009 to 21.9% in 2010 (when I hadn’t even hit the new 60-64 age bracket yet) then 20.7% in 2011 (which, after filing a complaint, was told it was because of my new age bracket!) I can only assume I will see an increase of 20+% again. How many times can they hit you for age bracket changes? They are forcing people who try to maintain healthcare coverage to become uninsured at these levels. To insinuate that the increase will be 9.35% is very misleading because I am sure many, like me, are actually getting hit with a total of 20+%. What is price gouging if this isn’t it? If not YOU then WHO will do something?

    Kathy Cullen

  287. JoAnne Wilkins Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I am writing in regards to the proposed increase of 9.35% by Wellmark. I STRONGLY URGE YOU NOT TO APPROVE THIS INCREASE. The increase applies to individuals and families but not group insurance. This would affect people who are self employed, such as myself, or people who are on Wellmark insurance because they had preexisting conditions, like my son who was born with a congenital heart condition (requires he see specialist cardiologist yearly).

    For our family with the two policies, it is $209 for my son’s policy and $377 for a policy that covers my daughter and myself. This totals $586. The 9.35% increase would move it up by $55. We already paid an increase last April of about $66 for the two policies. If you approve the new increase that will be a total increase of 23% in one year. In this economy that is exorbitant. My salary hasn’t increased in 6 years. There are many people affected by this who simply cannot afford another increase.

    Respectfully yours,

    JoAnne Wilkins

  288. Fred Nielsen Says:

    I am against it, being a small business owner. My premiums have gone up every year . I object because it is getting ridiculous, my policy doesn’t even offer prescription coverage. I hope it doesn’t pass. It is getting out of control.

  289. Kathy Shekleton Says:

    This is outrageous – my husband is self employed, he’s a farmer – this will break us if it keeps going up along with the other farmers – we need to look out for the little guy.

  290. Dan A Says:

    Why am I not surprised by Wellmark’s proposed rate hike for 2012? My wife and I took out a policy with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in the Spring of 2008. After the first year our policy increased 8.9%. After the second year we saw a 26.2% increase! Last year we saw a 16.3% increase! All total, our policy rate has increased 60% in the 3 years we’ve had the policy. Now another 9+% increase??? I urge the Insurance Commission to disallow this proposed increase. It appears that Wellmark has no incentive to reduce its own internal costs and is just building up a nice nest egg to live off of after ObamaCare really takes hold. Please put away your usual rubber stamp for such requests and say no!

  291. Bill and Alisa Byrnes Says:

    Please do not agree to another premium increase for Wellmark. This increase is a huge financial burden that many who purchase their own insurance can not afford. Unfortunately, we are not getting pay increases in the last couple years to substantiate these constant increases in our premiums. Please vote this down. Thank you.

    Concerned Wellmark insured.

  292. JC andela Says:

    Iowa Insurance Division:

    I am writing in response to the letter I received concerning the increase in rates Wellmark is asking the Iowa Insurance Division to approve. My wife and I now pay $1200.45 a month for our Wellmark Ins. which covers only the two of us and includes a high deductable. It is a great burden for us to have to pay these high rates. The rate increased by $185.00 a month last year. It seems they go up every year. We run a small business, heating, a/c, plumbing, and electrical, the insurance is one of our greatest expenses. The economy is taking its toll on our business. We still have to pay for the health insurance along with our other bills and the income has not increased. This rate increase would be a great hardship to us. As a businessman, I am not able to raise my rates every year, especially at 9.35%. Please consider our situation and many others and don’t allow Wellmark to raise their rates.
    Thank you.

    John W. Andela
    Hawarden, IA

  293. Michael Bunnell Says:

    I am against this rate increase and really questioning why Wellmark thinks they need it. I am a 35 year old self employed farmer so I am getting used to the yearly rise in imput costs. However I am wondering how Wellmark is figuring the rate increases ? In 2003 I recieved the rate increase letter that said my premium would change $6.20 which was about a 5% raise for 2004. Now for the last 4 years 2009 11.39% $16.10, 2010 20.2% $31.80 , 2011 10.3% $19.50 ,2012 8.68% $18.12. So figuring those increases my policy has increased premium by 80.4% or $102.47 a month since 2003. Has the cost of mecial services really gone up that much or is their 22% for Profit or Retained Earings (as stated on my last rate increase notice) a little low. Maybe you should see if they really need these rate increases or are they just getting used to getting them.

  294. Noreen Gingerich Says:

    I am appalled at another proposed rate hike in premiums that BCBS Wellmark health insurance is announcing.
    In the five years since my employment ended and I needed to find individual health coverage, the rates at BCBS have gone up by nearly 50%.

    I am in a very low-risk category: non-smoker, non-alcohol user, daily exerciser, regular blood donor, married and enjoying strong family and community connections, faith practitioner, yet I receive little credit in my insurance bills for all those life-style choices. Instead I am ever more penalized by rising premium costs.

    Please advocate for a freeze on health care costs. I read that commissioners in other states are putting the brakes on companies operating there.
    Can Iowa also protect its citizens from companies that are getting out of line?

    Noreen Gingerich

  295. phyliss stoelk Says:

    I currently have a $2750 deductible to pay in order to keep my rate as low as possible. I do not have prescription coverage nor coverage for immunizations. The reason being is that I do not take prescription drugs and it is just another way of keeping my rate low. This is the first year I have ever met my deductible. I am healthy, I do not go to the doctor needlessly. This year I had a broken foot and there were several xrays needed to cover it, including a radiation one with dye. My husband is disabled, he has another insurance company so he is not covered under mine. I pay for this personally. I only work part time and I will soon be needing to quit entirely due to his disability. I cannot afford another rate increase.

    If Wellmark wants to cut their costs, they first need to look at their outrageous salaries and benefits they are receiving; maybe something could be cut there. Also, instead of paying the Mayo Clinics exorbitant prices, they need to look at reimbursing them as if the person went to U of Iowa here or another local hospital for treatment and make the person who wants to go to Mayo pay the difference. After all, it is their choice to go to the Mayo.

    Wellmark also needs to look at cutting costs within their own system before they go always increasing rates since I do not feel increasing rates just to pay for their increase in salaries, benefits and a brand new building is what I should be paying for all the time. Costs everywhere are increasing and some people just do not have the money to purchase health insurance. If I were to lose my coverage, I would not be able to qualify for state funded insurance benefits as we are just over the income requirements.

    Please do not grant them the increase in which they are asking. They have increased my rates every year I have had it and it just cannot continue. They need to be told “no” once in awhile just so they get the message at they need to look in house for cost cutting measures before they look to their customers.

    Phyliss J Stoelk
    Mingo, IA

  296. Boyd and Mary Says:

    Hello. I was just wondering why just the individual policys were going up and not the group plans. In 2006 I was paying $530, and now I am paying $830. That’s a 60% in 5 years. Cost of living hasn’t gone up like that. I think this is getting totally outrageous. Please don’t vote for this increase

    Thanks for listening

    Boyd Antill

  297. Kay Stewart Says:

    This is not the time to have a rate increase when people are struggling just to have their daily need met. I have a high deductible and so I pay more out of my pocket and it make it tough to understand why my rate has to go increase.

    Is this increase to offset losses in investments? Where does the money com from for you administrative fees? Some of it has to come from the premiums and how do I know that’s not why you asking for an increase?

    I am asking for a satisfactory answer and I do expect that.

    Kay Stewart

  298. Patricia Garsh Says:

    I had a prescription that the insurance company made me get it by mail order. I think it is bad that insurance companies have that much power over people with a disease. I think we are giving insurance companies too much power.

  299. Greyling Willer Says:

    My comment on the proposed base rate increase of my Wellmark Health Insurance coverage would be that such a large increase in “profit or retained earnings” is not acceptable. I hope this can be taken into consideration at the Dec. 10 public hearing.

  300. Daniel E. Phillips Says:

    I’ve noticed that over the last couple of years there has be over a 40% increase for age along. I think that is exorbitant . I think they are expecting to loose some money due to the changes from the Federal government and they are tying to get the rate increase in before there. I think the profit and retained earnings is the most concerning and I don’t believe this is justified.

    This is more justification for a single payer health system which I do support.

  301. Christine Lehan Says:

    I feel its quite a high jump of a rate increase.

  302. Heidi Betz Says:

    I would like to comment on the rate increase that Wellmark would like to make effective in April. We cover our health insurance premiums out of our pocket without help from our employers. It has become more and more difficult for our family of four to pay for our medical insurance premium as well as our other expenses. I am very upset that Wellmark wants to raise our premiums again. It seems like they just raised the premiums not long ago. Wellmark is asking for an increase of over 9%! Our families income is definitely not increasing at anything near that rate at this time.
    Heidi Betz

  303. Tara Whitnah Says:

    I am strongly opposed to more rate hikes. I switched my carrier from Assurant to Wellmark last year as every year there was a rather substantial hike in rates. The same thing is happening with my new carrier. I am a single mom who has a mediocre-paying job. Luckily my son is covered by Medipass but I have to pay for my own medical insurance. I hardly ever go to the doctor and even avoid routine tests in order to save on my monthly bills as the only way I can afford insurance is to have a very high deductible.

    Please re-consider any rate hikes. I try to lead a healthy lifestyle so why should I have to pay for others who don’t and therefore have a high claim rate?

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Tara Whitnah
    Keokuk, Iowa

  304. Madonna McKibbin Says:

    As self employed Iowans we are completely against the propossed BCBS of Iowa rate increase. There is only so much money to go around
    and if we want Iowans to be able to afford health insurance, it’s time Iowa takes a stand and says NO to these increases.

    A few years ago, we had BCBS and the day after we received the letter our application had been accepted for BCBS, we got a rate increase of over $125. Completely uncalled for!
    I don’t have the papers in front of me but rates started out in the range of $440 a month for family of 3 with high deductable of $5K.
    Slowly the rated increased and we had to cancel our BCBS insurance due to not being able to afford the $800 a month
    premium. We could have changed to $10K deductable but with medical bills for one, we would have saved nothing by changing. Only shifting who we paid.
    For the last 1 1/2 year we were with BCBS, we struggled to meet the premiums. Due to medical reasons our youngest teenager had, we could not change companies
    as she would be ridered on any other policy but when it came to covering the 4 walls or insuance, we had to find a new company.

    In order to get into a differant company we had to have her thyroid condition ridered due to ‘it MAY’ turn into cancer! Absolutely ridiculous according to her specialist!

    In Jan we were forced to cancel that insurance when the premiums were going to go to $900 a month for $10K decuctable (High Deductable HSA). We did not go to
    the doctor for almost all of 2011 due to not having insurance.

    We were without insurance until Nov when we could get insurance back and at this time, BCBS was the cheapest but once again, you pay higher rates because 1) you were
    without insurance for over x amount of days and 2) because both my husband and I are according to ‘medical charts classified as obese’ but my medical standards, had a complete
    clean bill of health in 2010. We are now into BCBS are rates of approx $455 a month for $5K (HSA). Once rates increase, we will be right back where we were at having to go to
    $10K decuctable in order to be insuranced.

    I understand insuranace companies are no longer allowed to ‘rider’ an applicant but they have gotten creative with these measures in order to get the premiums they want.
    Insurance companies are allowed to create their own termonology ‘may’, ‘might’, etc. to cause riders or higher rates on Americans. It’s time to put a stop to this.

    Although our 23 year old is allowed to still be on our insurance due to her age, we can not afford the rates due to her thyroid condition which is called Hashimotos which means
    she picked up a virus and it attaked her thyroid. She will be on thyroid medicine the rest of her life and needs to see the specialist once a year to have her levels checked which runs
    in the $300 range for blood work/appointment. She can not afford the over $125 a month for insurance due to the thyroid condition! Ridiculous! Do you know it’s cheaper for her
    to go to women’s health clinic and pay on a sliding scale? Here is 1 Iowan that will not receive the medical care she needs because health insurance rates are out of control!

    Insurance companies authorized to sell insurance in Iowa are making a small fortune. We both know they have gotten creative on how to make it seem like they
    are needing these yearly increases to stay profitable. It’s time to say NO and protect the health of Iowans!

    Madonna McKibbin

  305. Linda Beard Says:

    Please help rein in our out-of-control insurance industry! The state of Iowa’s insurance commission has a consumer advocate, but the insurance companies still do anyting they want. For example, my individual health insurance premiums increased apprx.10% (2009),20% (2010), &10% (2011). Last year the approved rate was 8.5%, but my rate was 10% because of “my age”. The insurance company just picks a %! Where is my discount because I live a healthy, active life style such as normal weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar,etc. without taking any medication. The insurance co. punishes me for doing the right things. People who are individually insured are being targeted because we have no bargaining powers like groups do. Insurance companies are financially raping us. I won’t be able to participate in the public hearing but please listen to our pleas for help!

  306. Timothy J. Brien Says:

    Tim Brien Says:

    I would like to amend my comments of 11/30/2011.

    The more I think about this increase, the more of an outrage it is! It is certainly “predatory”. My mother thinks so as well & she has been a member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield for over 70 years! She feels the rates should be going down for the members.

    I don’t think a raise is in order, or should be tied to the rate of inflation at the very most. Especially with the 13.1%, 4.3%, 9.3%, 9.3%, 18.0%, 8.5%, 9.35% annual raises since 2006!

    My sister, Mary, was born on 12/25/1940, & she was the first baby born in the State of Iowa under the Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Des Moines, Iowa!

    Blue Cross/Blue Shield doesn’t seem to be the same company, when my father was on the Board back in the 1940’s.

  307. Richard Gilliland Says:

    I have a general complaint that insurance companies, government agencies, and other organizations do not provide good explanations on WHY health insurance costs consistently exceed the rate of inflation. However, for this rate increase, I want to focus on one aspect of the problem:

    There are four factors that determine the amount of health insurance premiums: 1) Cost of reimbursing for medical expenses 2) Reserve (to handle unexpected increases in medical expenses) 3) Administrative costs 4) Profit.

    In the “Factors” chart, Reserve and Profit seem to be combined under “Profit or Retained Earnings”. This means that there is a huge incentive for the company to advocate that there be a larger “reserve” for the sake of the policy holders, realizing that there is a good chance that this will eventually become profit.

    This Reserve should be identified as a separate category (in the proposed rate increase and other financial documents) — and eventually, the portion (that is not needed) should be divided between the company and the policy holders. Details would need to be carefully designed to provide the correct incentives and minimize overhead to manage the program.

    This would provide a better incentive for both parties to minimize medical costs and more fairly distribute the benefits of risks that did not materialize. I am willing to pay a higher premium for increased medical costs and a larger reserve — if I would benefit when the reserve is not needed. I am not as willing to pay more to increase Wellmark’s profit.

  308. Aimee Says:

    Please I ask of you to deny the rate increase for 2012 for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I am single and work in a daycare and don’t make much money as it is and BC/BS will take one whole paycheck. I am highly thinking of dropping BC/BS if they continue increasing our premiums each year. I was at the hearing today and really didn’t learn to much in the 2 hours.

  309. Robert Kelly Says:

    I dropped my insurance when I realized I was being ripped off. My area of expertise is economics and the numbers do not make sense to me. My personal calculation is to die with as little pain as possible when the time comes with no contact with people without souls. Or damned ones.But Wellmark is not alone in this skinning. They just hold the best hand at present. (from the demonic perspective)

  310. Ken and Darla Paxton Says:

    Just a short note to state the obvious, that a 10% increase in a down economy is almost a joke. I assume you will recall the two other increases in the past couple years and ask Wellmark to play by the same rules as the rest of the economy and tighten their bonuses and extras rather than run additional people out of insurance coverage and onto the public bill!!

    It is really scary that a company thinks they can justify this in our economy. Please make an example of them and show the struggling population that there is some sense of reason and hope from our regulators. If a normal business has a drop in profits, they either cut back or find ways to increase sales. They work harder and do not ask for a bigger handout.

    Ken and Darla Paxton

  311. Lisa Briese Says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Allowing BCBC to increase rates again this year will only add to the
    already uninsured population in Iowa. I hope that those of you that will
    allow this increase have visited the already over flowing lines at the
    free clinics or drove through the small towns in Iowa that have a
    growing number of closed store fronts. Allowing this increase will have
    devastating consequences to Iowa’s already struggling economy.

    BCBS proposes a 9.35% increase! My family has never received their
    proposed increase it is always double that. Our insurance rates have
    double over the last few years. Our family has owned and operated a
    small business over the past 15 years and this continued increase in
    health insurance is putting us out of business. Our rates will increase
    to over $800.00 a month for a healthy family of four. Small businesses
    are instrumental in fueling our economy and this catastrophic health
    insurance problem is adding to the uninsured population and putting
    small business owners out of business. Don’t allow the increase!

    Lisa Briese

  312. Sarah Craig Says:

    I’m sure you have heard my story time and time again about being on a fixed income and watching prices all around me going up. Had I not had a stroke in 1999, I would have been able to work to full retirement both with the state and the current Social Security age. Unfortunately that didn’t happen so my retirement funding was appropriately lowered. I was able to keep my insurance with the state but at a higher premium. The policy I have now is proposed to have an increase of nearly $100 a month for 2012. This presents a hardship in many ways. I have already cut many expenses and I get by but this increase will surely be just another hardship. Now when I hear the statement that growing old isn’t for sissies…….I believe it. Please give this new proposed premium increase carefully and thoroughly. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sarah Craig
    Des Moines, IA

  313. John G Says:

    Raising the cost of premiums only makes me stay away from a doctor or emergency room. As a result, if the condition is serious, the cost would have been much less if I felt I could seek medical help without penalty from the insurance company. If you are going to raise the premiums, do it gradually so we can budget for it. Maybe 3-4 percent at a time.

  314. Deb H. Says:

    I would like to comment on the proposed rate increase Wellmark feels they are justified in receiving. As a consumer, homeowner, taxpayer, U.S. Citizen etc., I believe this is not justified! I can relate to the frustration and anger of others who have commented on this increase and the hardship it will place on them and their families. I am also in the ranks of some that have only used this coverage for a prescription filled one time which saved me very little and a flu shot. I am healthy and said this when I applied for coverage back in 2009. The company in 2009 offered me only partial coverage with riders on several things thinking I was a risk due to a couple surgeries in my past. My husband of 40 years and I opted to pay Cobra with the company he had retired from for the year 2010. I applied one more time for coverage due to my insurance agent insisting I should since again-I was healthy-had no claims while I had cobra coverage. I was then accepted and was quoted my premium which changed almost immediately with never using it due to a rate change that I was told was for everyone. I have cost this company maybe $40.00 and yet I pay them a very nice premium every single month. It is unbelievable that Wellmark can continue to raise rates like they do and get by with it. I feel consumers are being taken advantage of and there is no end in sight regarding this issue. As a consumer I am trying to make sure that I have the coverage needed in case I should ever need it-yet it appears it is something I should very well discontinue. Health care in the U.S. definitely needs an overhaul! I have a spouse that is diabetic so he can’t obtain health insurance because it is pre-existing. He rarely saw a Dr. or needed one until he was diagnosed as a diabetic in 2005. When he applied for health insurance he was denied and treated as if he had an auto immune disease. He was good enough to serve his country years ago and spend a year in Viet Nam. How can this be right? Thankfully the VA didn’t turn him away! Health insurance is not affordable and as the Wellmark rates continue to escalate, it will be inevitable that many will drop it, go without insurance or seek out a different provider. Maybe this is the answer, we need to ALL find a different provider so Wellmark no longer monopolizes the insurance world! They are obviously benefiting quite nicely with the premiums many of us are paying and they are not having to pay claims for us. It is frustrating when people try to be honest, upfront, healthy, conscientious, frugal, and overall do the right thing-but penalized. Eventually everyone will be in need of assistance and how is that going to help this situation? Isn’t it amazing how it is always Wellmark that seems to be in the media for wanting another increase? I will anxiously wait for the outcome of this showdown but given the past history I am afraid we all know who will win this battle. That is just another reason why we as a country are struggling-give us a break! Don’t allow Wellmark to raise rates-put a rate freeze on them because this is not justifiable! I am sure everyone appreciates anything you can do to block this rate increase and represent all of us that are against it!
    Deb H.

  315. Sandy Skinner-Smith Says:

    It is way too much this is the 3rd time they raised it. We pay $679.00 out of pocket now and I can’t get insurance with anyone else. I think it is way too much. I hope they don’t raise it.

  316. Jim Braden Says:

    I am unable to attend the public hearings on Dec 10, so I am sending this email instead. My wife and I are insured by Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and our insurance premium is (without exaggeration) 25% of our household income! Because I have to pay for all my social security (15.3 % of my income) these two items (health insurance and taxes) make up ONE HALF of my household income.

    As an honorably discharged Navy veteran of the Cold War years, my income is right at the threshold which allows me to receive medical care from the VA hospital. As you can imagine, living at such an income level makes it difficult to manage any catastrophic or urgent financial situations, and it certainly does not allow us the luxury of affording our own home.

    Because there are so many of us who exist on such low incomes, I urge you to deny Wellmark’s request for a premium increase. It will most likely result in cutting my health insurance, thus making me a burden to society for my health care.

  317. Sandra Schutz Says:

    Dear Susan Voss,

    Thank you for all the hard work you do hear in Iowa.

    My family currently has a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa insurance policy.
    Please do not allow the company to increase rates! My current monthy rate is
    almost $700 dollars per month or $8,400.00 per year. We are being force into
    making decisions like… do we drop our insurance because WE CANNOT afford
    these increases every year. We have a $45 copay and 4500 deductible on top
    of the premium. We cannot afford to go for annual check ups ITS TO
    EXPENSIVE! We are not able to save for back up incase something catasrophic
    happens. We are chanllanged to save for our retirement. My family rarely
    uses the policy.

    I don’t even want to think of the retirement package and income the CEO of
    Blue Cross Blue Shield and the pay increases he benefits from because of the
    profits from the policy holders premiums.

    Please do not allow the increase!
    Sandra Schutz

  318. Mrs. Sue Ortale Says:

    Dear Sirs,

    I am writing to you to make you aware of my feelings toward the hike in rate increase for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for policies purchased by people who do not have coverage through their employer. Rates have already gone up twice. My husband pays more than $400 per month for insurance with this company. He works only part time, having lost his full time employment due to our economy and most of his pay or all of it goes toward insurance. I am resentful of this. He is very healthy, exercises more than most, eats well and is not overweight. He rarely goes to a doctor and will try to medicate himself. Becaue of our economy and his age of 62, he has not been able to find full time employment with insurance benefits. I do not feel we should be penalized for this! I am sure many others are in similiar situations.

    Wellmark seems to have a monopoly in our health services for Iowa and is winning the game. This needs to stop.

    Thank you for your consideration in this serious matter.

    Mrs. Sue Ortale

  319. Mark Scherer Says:

    As a small business owner this increase, while totally unjustified in the first place, (see the above numerous comments) is being placed squarely on the backs of small businesses and individuals who are not in large groups. Unfortuanately we do not have the $ or political clout to ‘muscle’ Wellmark into keeping our rates similar to those in larger businesses. Unfortunately it is us, the smaller individuals who are staying healthy as sole proprietors, that are paying for the excesses of employees of larger businesses. If this was fair there should be one universal rate for every individual insured by combining all of the people in large businesses and individuals into one large group. One person one rate. But since we do not live in a world anymore where insurance companies were required to be non- profit the rates should be raised on those who are not truly paying their full share (larger businesses) and lower it on individuals. I have three employees and insurance rates are a big reason I do not hire more employees.

  320. Nic Says:

    Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only plan available that has maternity coverage for individual policy holders. If my wife and I have a child, this is the only option for us. Who will protect us from the rate increases each year? With no competition or choice for the consumer, what option do we have but to accept the rate increases? Who will protect the little people like us?

    Thank you for your consideration. Your help is greatly appreciated.
    With Gratitude,
    Nic Scherer

  321. Pamela S. Waters Says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I lost my job in August 2007 and was forced to obtain my own health insurance. I obtained health insurance coverage with Wellmark effective 1/1/08. My premium has increased 43.9% in the last four years. The proposed increase will move that increase to over 50% I am trying to be a responsible citizen by maintaining health insurance but these constant rate increases are making this impossible. I can’t afford to be without insurance but it is becoming more difficult to afford even the lowest level of coverage. I have stopped taking the two prescriptions I was on to avoid having to go to the doctor to get the prescriptions renewed. The prescriptions were not covered by my insurance so I would have the expense of the prescriptions as well as the co-pay of the doctor’s office visit. After 4 years, I still have not found permanent, full-time employment and I am doing everything I can to make ends meet. My next step will be to drop my health insurance and become one of the thousands of uninsured.

    I beg of you to please deny Wellmark their proposed rate increase in its entirety.


    Pamela S. Waters
    7710 SW 9th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50315

  322. Robert Ammann Says:

    Wellmark needs to negotiate better with providers before raising premiums on policy holders. Due to an accident, I have been unfortunate in needing 3 surgeries in the past two years and after Wellmark’s payments, I have been offered prompt payment discounts by two hospitals. The discounts have been between 15 and 25%. If the hospitals can offer these discounts, it is apparent that Wellmark is not effective at negotiating rates for services. Of course they have no intention of pursuing that path when its much easier just to continually ask for rate increases on policy holders.
    I object to any further rate increases by Wellmark until they start doing their job to get the best prices possible out of providers.

  323. Mary Ann Liddell Says:

    To: Iowa Insurance Division Consumer Advocate
    Regards to: Wellmark Rate Increase of 9.35% effective date of April 1, 2012

    Here is a list of the amounts we have been paying a month for Health Insurance
    5/4/2009 we paid $314.75 a month
    2/1/2010 we paid $423.65 a month -paying $108.90 more a month
    5/3/2010 we paid $512.05 a month – paying $88.40 more a month
    4/4/2011 we paid $566.25 a month – paying $54.20 more a month
    and now on 4/1/2012 we will be paying 584.37 a month – will be paying $18.12 more a month

    So from 5/4/2009 to 4/1/2012 it has gone up from $314.75 a month to $584.37 a month a difference of $269.42!

    When does it ever stop? We should be rewarded for “NOT” using our Insurance, we never use it. It will get to expensive where we will not be able to afford it anymore, we will just go without it! Something needs to be changed with these Rate Increases all the time! All tho I voice my comments, does it really matter to you? You are going to raise the prices no matter what! It just is ridiculous the amount a person has to pay for Health Care Insurance!

    Mary Ann Liddell

  324. Jenk Itall Says:

    This hearing, even could allow PEOPLE to have a small victory, it is only to show in appearance that you have a say in it, but you really don’t because there are many other ways that you will be shepherd into the cage. The long term solution is to make medicare (existing operations and its future innovations) a property owned by the people as a commons or held in trust for common benefit.

    If you like to know my recent experiences and observations, you can read on, or otherwise I don’t want to waste your time.
    There are so many ways that our health care is manipulated by insurance companies, providers (hospitals, doctors, drug makers, etc) , and brokers (what is this category? I only heard it recently). This type of proposal with no convincing evidence for outrageous increase rate is one of attempts to take away your life by merchants. But this may be contributed to by all participants, including consumer PEOPLE, the truth is not clear to any one, it is a messy ball of wax.

    I have so many questions out of my experience and observations, For example, what are the insurance brokers doing in between, are they properly managed, why Merks Cozard price jumped up more than 3 times in 2009 with the costs up more than 300%+, why Wellmark sent me on November 14, that liptor price will be up and the generic of liptor available this coming year will be listed same as the brand name liptor as tier 3 drug, and it was decided by their respected physicians and Pharmacists (who are they?, what is the basis?), why MRI in US could costed 10 times more that other countries while equipment is event less updated? why intraocular lenses costs $2 and the eye sergery is 15 times more productive in one India clinic or in terms of sergeries done by a eye sergeon is 2000 to 125 in one recent NPR report .

    Insurance companies need to provide more evidence they had done their diligence for the PEOPLE, and PEOPLE need to have more control not just the options, because without control there are no options. If people’s representatives are not competent in this subject, they should not be in the way.

  325. Tom Schilke Says:

    I’m retired for four years and I have a health saving account. I’m careful and I’m healthy. I know those things can change and sometimes overnight. My main comment is that other types of insurance has discounts to help keep claims down. I’m looking for incentives as I would like to see incentives from health insurance. For example, when I get my annual physical, I don’t get blood work done with the doctor, but I’ll get the same test from the hospital. I also use the urgent care instead of going to the hospital. This keeps insurance down for you and me. Wellmark keeps asking for rate increases. But people can work at keeping health care costs down. Another point I would make is that I had a simple ear ache and after I went through the process it was hundreds of dollars. Just for an ear ache. There is something, wrong with our system.

  326. Carolyn Bohnstengel Says:

    To Whom It Will Concern:

    I ask that you reconsider the approval of an increase in the Wellmark premium rates. The 9.35% rate increase will affect my budget enough that I will consider a different insurance company. It is time to consider where medical expense reimbursements are being made instead. It is easier to ask for policyholder’s help. I pray that this 9.35% rate be thought about seriously.


    Carolyn Bohnstengel
    Clutier, IA 52217

  327. Peggy D. Says:

    Dear Ms. Voss,

    Since you will be making your decision on the Wellmark BlueCross and Blue Shield soon, I too wanted to at least voice my concerns.
    My husband and I started our own company 10 years ago; in the process we needed to purchase health care for ourselves and our two children. We went to BC/BS of Iowa and purchased, Alliance Select and Delta Dental. When we purchased our police BC/BS made my husband get his own individual policy with a much higher premium due to his weight.

    So, when I heard in the news that another increase was due to obesity, I was confused.

    If I am already paying a special premium due to his weight, why another
    increase because of obesity?

    This will be our 10th increase, in the 10 years we have had BC/BS. It has gone up every year, anywhere from 3.5 to at least 9.5 percent. I know health care is expensive, I don’t expect something for nothing; I do
    however expect to be treated fairly and realistically.

    It seems that individuals and self employed really are taking the brunt of
    the increases.

    I am hoping you take this into consideration when making your decision.

    Ms. Voss, thank you for your time. Once again, good luck.

    Peggy D.

  328. Nancy & Garth Griffin Says:

    Please list us as saying Do Not Increase the Wellmark Insurance premiums. They have been raised so many times/years. They are not tiny increases- they are big increases. It shocks us and it is hard to first pay taxes on our income and then pay the huge increases.

    Thank you

    Nancy & Garth Griffin

  329. Terry Says:

    Average increase? If Wellmark’s average had been used to compute my premiums, this next increase would increase my premium by 36% over three years. Instead, my increase will be 41%, if April’s increase is actually 9.5%. History says otherwise.

    As a retired business owner I understand cost increases and certainly don’t begrudge a company for making a profit. But having 62% of the increase going to profit and retained earnings is simply financial rape of the consumer. The actuaries admit that profit and retained earnings were not factored into their decision to justify the 9.5% increase. That is the problem!

    Wellmark needs to offset any loss incurred by rising costs. The actuaries should have considered the amount of increase needed to compensate that loss. If 62% is going elsewhere, only 38% was required to pay the cost increases. That would make the proposed rate increase only 3.6%.

    Should Wellmark be allowed an increase – Yes. Should it be allowed a 9.5% increase – absolutely NO!

  330. gni gats Says:

    Let’s start with the thinking ‘Why the health care costs keep rising?’
    1. The nature of the beast, everything goes up (except our pay)
    2. We the consumers use and abuse it (because we are ignorant and scared)
    3. The brokers (anyone person or organization positions to be between the consumer individuals and provider individuals) jack it up (information is not clear and you don’t know how it is calculated, and again, who is to say that how high is too high the profit margins?)
    4. Use of new, expensive, but always tested as better technologies (you are not the expert and you have to take recommendations)
    5. long process with questionable productivity (sometimes you have to do back and forth between two points and achieve nothing)
    6. Service not operate in an economic scale, fixed overhead (Salaries and bonuses) is rising faster than ever (this is free market, but the inefficient operations does not go down, you patients have to take it because it is very hard to move around)

    Are there any more reasons why?

    Which are the top 3 beasts to tame? and who can do that?
    What categories will the largest percentage of this proposed increase go? Are there alternatives, can we make it understandable to us all? Can we consumers chip in to operate a service that is heart to heart with no profit objectives and can do better? This is a real social issue !! If it is not fixed, USA may go bankrupt soon. Think the power of compounding from that percentage increase, how many years will it need to double or triple the costs, can can we afford it?

  331. Jeff Harris Says:

    *****************************This rate increase is totally uncalled for! This is just robbing policy holders to pay for a deluxe office building that was recently built for BCBS employees while executives receive huge salaries and bonus’s. And BCBS is boasting that they are spending 25 million dollars on ridiculous Blue Zone areas that are doomed to fail from the start just shows how much extra money they have and profit they are making on investments from members premiums after medical coverage’s and all other costs of doing business are met. They have more money than GOD and still want more!

    I recently questioned a BCBS billing statement that was for more than the doctor actually billed and was told by BCBS that many times they pay doctors and hospitals more than the billing statement because they think it is good business to pay them more than they want!!!!. Swear to God.

    I am a single low income parent, 53 years old with numerous medical conditions and two children and have been a BCBS member for most of my life and will have to cancel my policy and live without any medical insurance for myself and my children if another increase of any kind is approved as I just can’t pay any more. Please, please deny BCBS of any increase.

    Thank you,
    Jeff Harris

  332. Kathleen G. Larson Says:

    Please DO NOT raise our Wellmark premiums again. I simply cannot afford it.

    I am a single sixty yr. old substitute teacher. My monthly premiums are nearly $800. per month now. Depending on how many days I get called to teach, this is sometimes more than I make in a month. I have tried to get in a cheaper pool, but when I send in the application, it comes back with a rider for everything I ever went to a Dr. for! I’m trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, but healthy food is also more expensive. I don’t have extra money to join a gym or buy Jenny Craig food. I can’t go and do things to “get away” and relax or have fun. It’s been 30 yrs. since I went on a vacation. This adds to stress.

    My medical expenses are not costing Wellmark much at all. But, I have to choose between health insurance and living a normal life. At my age, I can’t get a full-time teaching job. They go to the younger kids.

    Lipitor went generic, yet to Wellmark, the generic is also a tier 3 drug. There’s just no winning for the patient.

    Please consider how this is affecting so many of us and don’t take such a big rate hike. I just can’t afford it.

    Thank you.


    Kathleen G. Larson
    Holstein, IA

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