September 27

(Madison) - Proponents of self-funding the State Group Health Program are failing to recognize that Wisconsin is not like other states or employers, and many of the reasons to self-fund don't apply to Wisconsin, according to a new analysis issued September 27 by The Benefit Services Group (BSG) and posted here. Wisconsin could be jeopardizing its uniquely effective State Group Health Program and competitive health insurance market and will not reap many of the benefits other employers and states realize when they self-fund, according to the BSG analysis.

"Wisconsin's State Group Health Program and broader health insurance market are among the most effective in the country," said Wisconsin Association of Health Plans CEO Nancy Wenzel. "Wisconsin policymakers should embrace Wisconsin's market competition success story and not make purchasing decisions that could harm the entire health care market."

In the new analysis, BSG presents important considerations for Wisconsin policymakers, including:
• The current, fully insured State Group Health Plan produces predictable, stable costs for taxpayers;
• The state's consulting firm that recommended self-funding incorrectly assumes Wisconsin's health care market is like other states' consolidated, fragmented markets;
• Projected savings from self-funding may never be realized, putting the State Budget and funding for other state programs at risk.

Self-funding would also create disruption and instability in the market and increase costs for the state, other health insurance purchasers and local economies, the analysis says.

Wisconsin's success story was also recognized recently by health care markets expert Barak Richman, who said "Wisconsin is doing something right. Wisconsin has uniquely competitive markets, and the rest of the country should be more like Wisconsin, rather than the other way around."

Richman delivered his remarks September 16 at the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans 2016 Education Program in Madison. More of his comments are presented here.

The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board (GIB) is considering a consultant's recommendation to replace the market competition approach with a state government run, self-funded model. Potential administrators of the proposed self-funded plan were required to submit proposals to the state by September 19.

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