Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and UnityPoint Health are announcing several new affordable health plan options for individuals and families who buy their own health insurance. Pending approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, these options will be made available on the public health insurance marketplace for residents of 19 Iowa counties (highlighted on map) during open enrollment beginning Nov. 1, for benefits starting Jan. 1, 2023. Central Iowa counties where the coverage will be offered include Polk, Dallas and Warren, along with Boone, Jasper and Marshall counties, as well as some counties extending into eastern Iowa. Individuals will be able to access thousands of health care providers and locations. The plans also include low primary care copays and $0 virtual care through participating UnityPoint Health providers. “Wellmark is honored to team up with another trusted name in health care, UnityPoint Health, to make health care better for our members,” said Jason Humphrey, Wellmark’s vice president of health networks and government programs. “We are working together to focus on the whole health of the individual by creating a targeted network of hospitals, physicians and health care providers that deliver high-quality, cost-effective and coordinated care across the entire range of services to optimize the patient experience.” Des Moines-based Wellmark controls about 45% of the individual health insurance market in Iowa, according to Iowa Insurance Division data cited in a November guest opinion piece by local health benefits expert David Lind. More information on Wellmark’s new line up of individual health plans will be available beginning Nov. 1 at Wellmark.com.