Now is a good time to review your employee health insurance needs and compare them to the Wisconsin Public Employers (WPE) information in this Bulletin. The WPE Group Health Insurance Program has been available to local governments since 1987 through the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). Currently, 220 local employers participate. More than 8,000 active and retired local employees and their dependents are enrolled in the program.
When an employer joins the program, all Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) eligible employees must be offered coverage. Eligibility includes WRS retirees covered under your current group health insurance program. The WPE health program has no underwriting and there are no waiting periods for pre-existing medical conditions for eligible employees and retirees who were covered under the employer's prior group health plan.
This Bulletin contains the monthly premium rates for 2001 and a map showing which plans have primary providers, a hospital, pharmacy, chiropractor, and dentist (if applicable) physically located in specific counties. Other plans may have limited provider availability in the county, but do not appear on the map. Each employee has his or her choice of plans offered. Each October, employees may elect to change to a different participating plan without restriction, or to change from single to family coverage, effective the following January 1.
The WPE Group Health Insurance Program offers two types of plans: Standard Plan (fee-for-service indemnity) and Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans. The Standard Plan is a self-insured health plan, which pools the combined claims experience of all participating local governments. This pool can provide local governments with significant protection from adverse claims experience, reduce costs, and increase negotiating power. BlueCross & BlueShield United of Wisconsin provides administrative services for the Standard Plan and State Maintenance Plan (SMP).
The HMO plans include 21 participating health organizations with locations statewide. HMOs provide comprehensive benefits at a lower cost than the Standard Plan in exchange for some health care provider limitations. Except for dental coverage, which may be offered at the discretion of the plan, all employees enrolled in HMOs have the same levels of coverage (excluding Group Health Cooperative - South Central). Uniform Benefits were designed to ease employee plan selection and assist ETF's efforts to negotiate quality care at the lowest possible cost. With Uniform Benefits, an HMO can be chosen based on cost, quality of services and access to specific physicians or other health care providers.
For more information on the WPE Group Health Insurance Program, contact Rick Parpart, ETF, Division of Employer Services, P.O. Box 7931, Madison, WI 53707-7931. Call (608) 267-2198, FAX (608) 266-5801, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Benefit Programs
In addition to the WPE Group Health Insurance Program, ETF administers the Group Life Insurance Program, the WPE Income Continuation Insurance Program and the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program. Local government employers who participate in the WRS may join any of these programs.
If you would like more information on any of these benefit programs, complete the form below and mail it to the Department of Employee Trust Funds, P.O. Box 7931, Madison, WI 53707-7931 or FAX your request to ETF at (608) 267-4549.