DES MOINES, Iowa — Two state senators have demanded an investigation into whether Iowa's dominant health insurer really needs $1.3 billion in reserves.

Sens. Jack Hatch and Matt McCoy, both Democrats from Des Moines, said Tuesday that they questioned Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield's reserves because Wellmark has decided against participating next year in the state's health insurance exchange.

"Much of that $1.3 billion reserve should go back to the policyholders," said Hatch, who delivered a letter Monday to Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart, asking for the investigation.

Hatch, who is considering running for governor in 2014, said state regulations require the insurer to have reserves of only $350 million.

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