Report 2016: Wisconsinites Still Paying More for Healthcare than Minnesotans

Report 2016: Wisconsinites Still Paying Far More Than Minnesotans for Healthcare

For the 3rd year in a row, Citizen Action's Minnesota Vs Wisconsin Healthcare Report shows that Wisconsinites are continuing to pay far more for healthcare than their Midwestern neighbor. Click here to read the whole report.

The findings in this report should be a wakeup call that state policy has a significant impact on health insurance costs, and that solutions should be near the top of the agenda in Madison.

As in all the previous studies, this report suggests that the two states differing approaches to implementing the Affordable Care Act partially explain the gap in health insurance rates between the two states. The obsession of Wisconsin elected leaders on obstructing the Affordable Care Act has distracted them from taking common sense steps that could improve  the Wisconsin health care system and make it more affordable.

Public discussion of Minnesota’s health insurance inflation has up to this point failed to include the impact of deductibles. This exclusive focus on premiums has distorted understanding of overall costs to consumers. For example, in Minnesota metro areas such as Rochester and Duluth, the overall cost to consumers of both premiums and deductibles together has actually gone down for 2016.

Deductibles represent a major cost for consumers. Deductibles must be met before the insurer payments kick in for most medical services.

Comparing full consumer cost, both premiums annually and deductibles, within major metro areas reveals dramatic and shocking regional differences in what consumers pay.

Policy Proposals in this report

  • Wisconsin should increase its rate review authority, as has been proposed in a bill by Senator Chris Larson and Rep. Debra Kolste. In addition, Wisconsin could explore an “active purchasing” model to directly challenge high premiums and out-of-pocket costs
  • Wisconsin should immediately accept enhanced Medicaid funds to strengthen BadgerCare and begin to plan to accept “Basic Health Plan” dollars which can be used to return BadgerCare eligibility to 200% of poverty line for adults. Wisconsin should also explore federal waivers that can be used to ease health insurance costs for low income consumers.
  • Wisconsin should follow Minnesota, and end the sale of substandard non-Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans.

Questions? Email Kevin Kane at [email protected]

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