Guest Opinion from the Iowa State Senate
During these tough economic times, everybody is cutting back and doing more with less.
That’s why it was shocking to learn that Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield is demanding an 18-percent insurance rate hike. More than 80,000 Iowans would be hit.
Iowa families can’t afford these outrageous insurance premium increases, and they deserve to know if it is justified.
Because many insurance companies have merged over the last 15 years, many middle-class Iowa families have little or no choice between insurers. In Iowa, the two largest insurance companies make up more than 80 percent of the market. This means fewer choices and less competition.
As a result, Iowa insurance company officials have been called to the Capitol to explain themselves, and we’re working to make sure consumers have better information on health insurance plans, premium rate increases and health care cost information.
The insurance company accountability plan, part of Senate File 2201, will create a new consumer guide on health insurance for Iowans. It also requires the Iowa Insurance Commissioner to produce a detailed report on insurance rate increase data, health care expenditures, ranking factors that raise or lower costs in each insurance plan and other data.
Insurance companies shouldn’t take advantage of Iowans, especially in times like these. Yet it seems Wellmark is using its control of the Iowa insurance market to hammer our families, small business owners and farmers.