Mar 22, 201703:46 PMOpen Mic
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Former private sector insurance CEOs agree self-funding bad for Wisconsin
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For more than three decades, the health insurance program for Wisconsin state employees has been called a model for other states, using free-market competition to deliver extraordinarily high-quality care and, importantly, contain costs for taxpayers.
That unique model is under threat today because an unelected state board is pushing to consolidate and control Wisconsin public employee health insurance choices, a move that would also negatively affect the private sector.
As retired leaders of four private sector health insurers throughout Wisconsin, we have seen firsthand the success of the existing state employee health program.
Over the past six years, the program’s costs have increased at an average that is half that of other large employers in the state, and well below large employers nationally. According to the state’s news release in August 2016, the 2017 cost increase of 1.6% compares to a 6.7% increase for other private and public plans in Wisconsin, and a 6% increase nationwide.
The current program has delivered lower costs for taxpayers, quality care for employees, and a robust insurance marketplace that delivers good value to private sector employers, as well. Unlike most states dominated by one or two insurers, Wisconsin is a unique, highly competitive market with dozens of health insurers.
All that is threatened by a proposal being considered by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee that would create a state-sponsored central program and displace hundreds of private sector, Wisconsin-based jobs.
As retired CEOs, we don’t have a personal stake in the ongoing debate over state employee benefits. As taxpayers, however, we urge the members of the Joint Finance Committee to take a very critical look at the long-term impacts of the disruptive change being considered.