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News

Department of Employee Trust Funds
August 16, 2016

2017 Premium Rate Changes Significantly Lower than Trends

The Group Insurance Board approved an overall 1.6% increase in State non-Medicare premium rates for 2017 today. This was due to an “extremely successful negotiation process with our participating health plans,” said Lisa Ellinger, Director of the Office of Strategic Health Policy at ETF.

The 1.6% overall increase is also good news in light of much higher premium increase trends in Wisconsin and nationwide. Wisconsin Health News has reported an overall 6.7% increase in Wisconsin premiums, based on M3 Insurance’s 2016 Trends in Health Care Report. The 6.7% was comprised of 80% private and 20% public plans.

On the national front, premiums for large employers are expected to rise by approximately 6% in 2017, according to a recent study from the National Business Group on Health. The study contains data from 133 large businesses. In addition, survey results released by Willis Towers Watson cited employer expectations of a 5% increase in health care costs for 2017.

The detailed full rates for the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program and the Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program will be released soon. Employee contribution amounts and employer health savings account contribution amounts will also be available in the next few weeks. The It’s Your Choice open enrollment period is set for October 17-November 11.

Other GIB Action

  • The GIB approved the 2017 service area qualifications and tiering assignments for participating health plans.
  • Key health plan changes to note – effective January 1, 2017:
    • A new offering by Security Health Plan in the Fox Valley – called Security Valley
    • WEA Trust South Central, covering Dane County, will no longer be available
    • Anthem Blue Preferred Southeast will no longer be available
    • Arise Health Plan – Aspirus Arise will no longer be available
    • Network Health will not cover services by ThedaCare providers
  • The GIB approved no changes in premium rates and benefits for the Group Life Insurance Program for state and local government employees in 2017, which is administered by Securian Financial Group.
  • The GIB approved continuing to offer long-term care insurance in 2017 for state government employees, annuitants, and their families through Mutual of Omaha and marketed by HealthChoice, LLC.

At its November meeting, the GIB will select a vendor for data warehousing and visual business intelligence services, and review vendor presentations on self-insurance and program restructuring models that may be implemented in 2018.

For future updates, watch our website or follow ETF on Twitter. You can also subscribe to It’s Your Choice e-alerts for information on health benefits, and health and wellness related topics.

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