Decisions made by Wisconsin explains massive health insurance premium disparity between MN and WI on new health insurance marketplaces

On a media call Wednesday that included U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Citizen Action of Wisconsin released a new report documenting vast differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin in the cost for health insurance on the individual insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

The report also compares health insurance individual marketplace rates for Wisconsin’s major metro areas, and reveals major differentials in cost.

The report, A Tale of Two States: Why Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Individual Marketplace Premiums are Dramatically Higher than Minnesota’s, shows that two critical decisions made differently in the two states explain a substantial portion of the rate disparity.

Key Report Findings: –Wisconsin health insurance marketplace premiums for single coverage will be on average 79 percent to 99 percent higher than premiums in Minnesota, before tax credits are applied.

That is a difference of over $1,800 a year. –The health insurance cost differential will be even worse for some major Wisconsin cities.

Rates in La Crosse are 136 percent higher than the Minnesota average, rates in Eau Claire are 116 percent higher, and rates in Milwaukee are 112 percent higher.

  • Two key decisions in Wisconsin’s Affordable Care Act implementation play a substantial role in raising health insurance rates in Wisconsin relative to Minnesota: the decision to reject enhanced federal Medicaid dollars, and the decision not to implement rigorous review of health insurance rates.
  • Wisconsin has the opportunity to bring down rates by accepting enhanced federal Medicaid funds and using state powers such as reviewing and rejecting excessive rates to make health insurance more affordable.
  • Wisconsin’s rejection of a state-based marketplace strip policymakers of additional tools for moderating health insurance rates.
  • The cost gap with Minnesota has the biggest impact on middle class Wisconsinites because Affordable Care Act tax credits mitigate the impact on lower income people who buy insurance on the marketplace.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, Americans can receive the health care coverage they deserve, regardless of their socioeconomic status or preexisting conditions.

It is shameful that Governor Scott Walker is seemingly doing everything in his power to prevent proper implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

“Thanks to Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s new analysis, we now have tangible evidence that Wisconsin’s approach to implementation has put our citizens at a costly disadvantage, relative to Minnesota – a state that has long had similar health care systems and costs. I encourage the Governor to rethink his strategy and begin to work in the best interests of those he represents.”

“The breathtaking health insurance cost gap between Wisconsin and Minnesota needs to be immediately addressed by policymakers in Madison,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin

“This report shows that the Walker Administration’s decision not to take advantage of all of the tools made available by national health care reform will be very costly for Wisconsin families struggling to secure affordable health care.”

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