November 15  |  Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- A group of health care stakeholders have asked Gov. Scott Walker to consider how self-insuring state workers could affect Wisconsin's economy and its health care market.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Wisconsin Medical Society and a dozen other groups said the potential repercussions for the state, taxpayers, state employees, health care organizations and the Wisconsin economy are significant and could be far-reaching, the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/2eBSQCs ) reported.

The Group Insurance Board is expected to vote Nov. 30 on whether to shift to self-insurance beginning in 2018. The board oversees benefits for nearly 250,000 state and local government workers and their family members.

Under self-insurance, Wisconsin would pay benefits directly and take on the risk for claims. One or more companies might help administer the program.

There is the possibility that self-insurance could be mixed with parts of the current program.

Consultants have said that opting for self-insurance could cost $100 million a year -- or save $42 million, due to avoiding $18 million in Affordable Care Act fees, cutting $11 million in administrative costs and eliminating $11 million in insurance company profits.

Walker said any savings would be put toward public education.

In a memo sent to Walker on Monday from the state's hospital and doctor associations, along with the health plans group, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, the Wisconsin Counties Association, the Cooperative Network and M3 Insurance said, the current state worker health benefits program "has been remarkably successful in using choice and competition to control costs, improve quality, and maintain financial stability and value for taxpayers," they said. "Any alternative the state considers should be held to this high standard."

Spokesman for the governor Tom Evenson said Walker "appreciates this input and will take these concerns into consideration."

Walker's administration has discussed the possibility of switching to self-insurance since at least 2013.

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