“Wellmark Simple” Answer to Complex Health Insurance Marketplace Just A Dream? UPDATED!

iowaforhealthcarereformbuttonGeezernote: skip to the end to get the bottom line on this post, because I got the URL wrong!

OK, last night I was sleeping in front of the TV but woke up just in time to view a commercial about the insurance carrier which holds about 85% of Iowa’s health insurance market share. It was a about a product called “Wellmark Simple” and it flashed a web site address, www.wellmarksimple.com. I’m posting the URL because I think it worked last night but didn’t today, as the reader can see, because you get a “domain not found” error message. Last night it opened an enrollment page clearly intended to let the reader know that this was an alternative to the Health Insurance Marketplace website.

This morning when I tried to find the web site again, I couldn’t. I went to the Wellmark site and found the home page with an obvious link to the alternative  to the Health Insurance Marketplace web page, Wellmark ACA Open Enrollment, but hen you click on the link “Open Enrollment is Oct. 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014“, it leads to a “This page can’t be displayed error” message.

I might have dreamed it all, but then why did I find the Wellmark’s links in my web browser’s History tab for October 18, 2013? I must have been looking for Wellmark for some reason. I don’t just do web searches for Wellmark for fun. In fact, I’ve never looked up Wellmark on the web.

Anyway, last night it looked like Wellmark was trying to run it’s own independent health insurance enrollment web distinct from the Health Insurance Marketplace, which as you know, has been having it’s glitches online.

Could Wellmark be having its own glitches–or was the web page taken down for another reason? There is a news release which appears to be about Wellmark’s own tool for enrollment, which implies that it’s compliant with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The same information is duplicated on the web site.

Wellmark ran a TV ad that announced its intentions to stay out of the Health Insurance Marketplace until 2015:

To be sure, Wellmark has what looks like a very helpful educational page on its site to guide consumers about health care reform when you click the We Know Reform link.

This reminds me of my previous post about the Iowa Health Insurance Marketplace in which the Iowa Press TV program highlights the complexity of the exchange and the question about what Wellmark’s plans would be regarding their participation or lack thereof. I wasn’t clear on whether Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart knew the answer and at the time of the writing of this post couldn’t access the Iowa Public TV website to see if I could review the transcript of the original show to check my memory. See if you can find it on this link.

And I didn’t see anything about Wellmark Simple at the Iowa Insurance Commission or the Iowa Insurance Division web sites, although I could have missed it.

Wellmark could have a great idea for what health care reform means for Iowans. I like the idea of “simple” and the current situation is anything but that. But I don’t know if it was just a dream. Did anyone else out there have the same experience?

ADDENDUM: OOPS! I missed the URL by a forward slash mark. I saw the commercial again on 10/21013 and noticed the link is actually www.wellmark.com/simple. Sorry about that! Well, it’s not a dream.

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