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After CoOportunity Health's struggle, Wellmark works overtime to process new members

About 80 percent of members have insurance cards, but delays could trigger more issues

In the aftermath of CoOportunity Health's financial struggle, many consumers switched policies to Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Iowa's largest insurer is still working to process insurance cards for its new wave of members, reported the Business Record.

Although the new policies became effective about 10 days ago, Wellmark is "working diligently" to process the cards. About 80 percent of its new members have already received identification numbers and insurance cards, Wellmark spokeswoman Traci McBee told the Record.

"Our priority during this time is to ensure our members experience minimal disruptions in their care or services," McBee said. "We have increased the number of resources dedicated to transitioning these new members significantly."

Specifically, she added, Wellmark opened its call center over the last few weekends to expedite processing of new members and "reached out to providers, pharmacists and agents to ensure they have the information they need so that Wellmark members are able to receive the services and care they need during this time."

However, the initial processing delays "could create more issues in the interim," Steve Flood, senior vice president for insurance brokerage Holmes Murphy & Associates Inc., told the Record. "It could require some extra legwork on the part of employees [with employer-sponsored coverage]. I think especially in the two- to 15-person small-group market is where there will be a lot of friction."

Meanwhile, the Nebraska insurance department urges all remaining CoOportunity Health members to "act immediately in securing new coverage," the agency said in a statement.

There are still almost 8,800 members insured by CoOportunity Health, including about 5,500 who are enrolled in a group plan. Although those members will continue to receive some limited coverage through insurance guaranty funds from Iowa and Nebraska as CoOportunity Health undergoes liquidation, the insurance department warned that policies could be canceled as soon as 30 days after liquidation on Feb. 28.

To learn more:
- read the Business Record article
- see the Nebraska insurance department statement

Related Articles:
Report questions financial viability of CO-OPs
Iowa insurance commissioner seeks liquidation of CoOportunity Health
What caused Iowa's CoOportunity Health to fail