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Iowa insurance chief not bothered by Wellmark ads

Published: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 11:23 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa’s insurance commissioner has no problem with ads by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield that make fun of technical problems with the federal online marketplace program.

CoOportunity Health, a Wellmark competitor, has raised questions about the ads as examples “of questionable market conduct.”

Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart told The Des Moines Register that he sees nothing illegal about the ads from Wellmark, the state’s dominant health insurer. The ads urge people to skip the government’s troubled health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov and check its site instead.

The ads don’t say consumers who use Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield wouldn’t be eligible for new public subsidies. The subsidies may be used only for policies from insurers participating in the new marketplace. Wellmark isn’t participating.

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