Governor Walker signs new legislation to provide budget committee with greater oversight
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed new legislation that will allow the state’s Legislature’s budget committee to have oversight over any contract that will move public health workers into a self-insurance system. A self-insurance system is one in which an employer assumes the financial risks associated with providing health insurance coverage to workers. Such systems are relatively popular among businesses in the United States, especially in the public sector.
New legislation may have an impact on 240,000 public employees receiving health insurance
The legislation signed by Governor Walker may have an impact on health insurance for some 240,000 public employees, including their families and retired workers. Through a self-insurance system, the state would be liable to pay benefits directly and would take on the risk of costs overrunning predictions. This would replace the current system, through which the state purchases health insurance from some 17 Health Maintenance Organizations. Wisconsin officials may vote in February to have the state move to a self-insurance system.
Budget committee wanted more oversight in order to ensure insurers can operate effectively in the state
The state’s budget committee has been petitioning for oversight over a move to a self-insurance system, with state officials suggesting that such a system could have a major impact on the state’s health insurance market. The state is keen to ensure that insurers will be able to operate effectively within Wisconsin while also ensuring that public employees can continue to enjoy health insurance coverage.
Health insurance rates are set to rise in 2016
Beyond the public sector, consumers throughout Wisconsin have been able to find health insurance coverage through the state’s exchange. This coverage is expected to become more expensive next year, largely due to insurers looking to recover from financial losses. Insurance premiums for public workers are also expected to increase in 2016. Financial losses for insurers are due to the growing number of those with insurance coverage. These consumers are beginning to use their coverage more frequently, with insurers facing greater claims payouts.