HCTrends Highlights Additional Act 10 Savings

MacIver News Service | December 2, 2011

[Madison, Wisc..] In their latest report, HCTrends is highlighting more evidence that Wisconsin’s public labor compensation reforms are working.

According to their analysis, taxpayers will save approximately $155 million next year due to changes in the benefit design for health plans offered to state employees.

“While most of the public debate over Act 10 focused on collective bargaining and health plan contributions, the budget-repair legislation also mandated that the benefit design be changed to achieve a 5-percent reduction in premium costs based on actuarial analysis,” says Dave Jensen, editorial director of HCTrends. “This is a significant step for the state, even though the cost-sharing remains significantly below private-sector averages.”

Jensen notes that most of the savings, approximately $90 million, will be realized as state employees pay a greater share of the premium costs; however, taxpayers will save an additional $65 million due to a new requirement that state employees pay 10 percent of their medical costs up to an out-of-pocket maximum of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families.

HCTrends’ latest Greater Milwaukee Employer Health Care Benefits Survey showed that health plans offered by large employers typically have a 20 percent coinsurance requirement and out-of-pocket maximums of $2,500 for single plans and $5,000 for family plans.

While the public sector plans remain far more lucrative then the average benefits offered in the private sector, the new state plan design reduced 2012 premiums for the 26 health plans offered to state employees by an average of 2 percent, the first year-to-year decrease in more than 10 years.

HCTrends Notes that health plans serving southeastern Wisconsin, northern Wisconsin (Wausau) and Western Wisconsin (La Crosse) lowered their premiums by an average of 4 percent, while plans serving northeastern Wisconsin and south central Wisconsin lowered their premiums by 3 percent.

HCTrends is a forum committed to promoting meaningful dialogue on the health care challenges facing the provider and business communities.

HCTrends’s mission is to be the premier forum for market-oriented health care solutions in the Milwaukee Region and beyond. In addition to its website, HCTrends publishes a newsletter that is available in both digital and printed formats at HCTrends.com.