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Press Release

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2002

Contact: Pam Henning, (608) 267-2929

Group Insurance Board Moves Forward on Exploring Cost-Saving Changes for State's Health Insurance Program

MADISON -- The Group Insurance Board (GIB) took major steps to control escalating costs and improve service delivery and quality of care for more than 210,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents under the state's group health insurance program, Employee Trust Funds (ETF) Secretary Eric Stanchfield announced. The Board yesterday approved, in concept, a GIB study group's recommendation that the Department explore and develop significant program design changes, including: changing the current premium contribution structure to a tiered approach; using a single pharmacy benefit manager to handle prescription drug benefits; converting two indemnity plans to one preferred provider network; creating a stand-alone dental plan; and integrating quality and safety standards into program requirements.

"The study group's report sets a strategic direction – a platform on which will we will go forth and explore changes," says Tom Korpady, ETF Division of Insurance Services Administrator. "It is not a detailed blueprint of changes to come. There is much more work to be done – more questions to ask and many more details to work out." Korpady added, "Throughout this process we will welcome and value input from organizations and entities that are involved in this program."

The report capped off the study group's year-long comprehensive review of health insurance program benefits and services, which included an analysis of the effectiveness of features of the current program, which has provided high quality health care coverage at a reasonable cost to state and local government employees and employers in the past.

The report acknowledged that because many of the strategic initiatives will need legislative and collective bargaining changes before implementation, input from people involved in those arenas will likely shape the final product. "There is no magic solution that will solve all the problems we have with rising health insurance costs or that will 'be all things to all people'," says Korpady. "While we have been running a high quality, cost-effective health insurance program, there is always room for improvement."


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