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News: Legislative Updates

Health groups band together on self insurance, send letter to Walker

Tuesday, November 29, 2016   (0 Comments)
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November 15, Wisconsin Health News

 

Heathcare organizations called on Gov. Scott Walker's administration and lawmakers to consider the impact that self-funding the health plan for state and local employees could have on Wisconsin's healthcare market.

 

Fourteen groups, including the Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society, sent a memo to lawmakers Monday cautioning that the "potential repercussions" of self-insuring "could be far-reaching" and "significant" for the state's taxpayers and economy.

 

The Department of Employee Trust Funds has issued a request for proposals to self-insure the health plan for state and local employees. In such an arrangement, the state would take on the risk for the roughly 250,000 state and local employees, as well as their families, currently covered under the program.

 

The proposal could reduce the number of HMOs serving the program. It could also save the state up to $42 million, according to one report. A different report said the move could save $20 million or cost the state up to $100 million. Walker has said any savings would go to education.

 

The 14 organizations called on the state's Group Insurance Board, members of the Joint Finance Committee and Walker to "fairly compare" the results of the RFP to the current system, evaluate "possible significant risks to state taxpayers" and assess whether self-funding protects the competitive strength of the state's health insurance market.

 

"The State Group Health Program has been remarkably successful in using choice and competition to control costs, improve quality and maintain financial stability and value for taxpayers," they wrote. "Any alternative the state considers should be held to this high standard."

 

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson wrote in an email that the governor appreciated the input and will take it in consideration.

 

"In the end, we will move forward with a plan that is best for Wisconsin," he said.

 

The Group Insurance Board is next scheduled to meet Nov. 30.

 

Read the memo.


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