Iowa Hires Consultant To Review Wellmark's Reserve Level

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By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A consultant has been hired to see whether the state's dominant health insurer has the right amount of customers' money tucked away in reserve.

The Des Moines Register says Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart's office has hired Risk and Regulatory Consulting to check the reserve held by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Gerhart says state regulation changes justify the review. He also says the fact he's ordered the review doesn't suggest there is anything wrong with Wellmark's holding of $1.3 billion in reserve.

State Sens. Jack Hatch and Matt McCoy have said the reserve is too high and that some of the money should go back to customers. The company says the reserve level is necessary to ensure that Wellmark can pay medical bills for policyholders.

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