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Iowans Fight Health Insurer's Premium Increase

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Dozens of Iowans have asked the state health insurance commissioner to deny another premium increase sought by the state's dominant health insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The company wants to raise premiums on 150,000 individual policyholders by 12 percent to 13 percent starting in April. The Des Moines Register reports that Wellmark has been raising premiums for the past several years, including 9.4 percent last year and 8.5 percent in 2011.

Wellmark says it needs more money to pay for the higher costs of medical services.

The company sells about 86 percent of the nonemployer health insurance policies in Iowa.

On Saturday state Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss will hold a public hearing on the company's request.