Big Iowa Health Insurer Unsure About Exchange

September 1, 2011

A leading Iowa health insurer isn’t sure yet whether it will participate in the state’s planned insurance exchange.

The exchanges are expected to be a key part of the national health care overhaul. Some people would be required to use exchanges to qualify for coverage subsidies.

John Forsyth is chairman of Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which provides three-quarters of policies to Iowa individual consumers and small businesses. He told the Des Moines Register that Wellmark isn’t sure about what the exchange would affect the company.

Insurance experts say that because of Wellmark’s big market share, Wellmark has the leverage to negotiate lower prices for care.

Forsyth says that no final decision has been made, “If we think we can break even, we’ll be there.”

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