The Group Insurance Board today approved a modest premium increase for the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. The overall state premium increase of 2.7% is less than the national trend for the second year in a row, according to Segal, the Board’s consulting actuary.

Premiums for 2021 reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the Group Health Insurance Program. Fewer members have sought medical care than usual during 2020, resulting in lower program costs. The Department of Employee Trust Funds and Segal determined a uniform cost reduction for all health plans next year.

“The Board’s decision to apply surplus reserves, on top of savings that ETF was able to negotiate with participating health plans, helped to keep premiums down for members and employers,” said Eileen Mallow, ETF’s Director of the Office of Strategic Health Policy.

Premiums include medical, pharmacy, and administrative costs. These costs differ between the state and local program offerings.

The impact of the 2.7% premium increase will vary between state government active employees (e.g., graduate assistants, etc.) and retirees. The Department of Administration’s Division of Personnel Management determines both the state employee contribution to the health insurance premium and the employer contribution to the Health Savings Account. Those amounts will be available prior to the annual open enrollment period, September 28-October 23, 2020.

Participating local government employee premiums will vary based on the employee share set by each employer. While some plans were able to reduce their rates, the overall local premium increase is 8.0%. Employees will receive rate information directly from their employers.

The Board also approved University of Wisconsin System and University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics employee participation in the Parking and Transit Accounts. Employees will be eligible to enroll in these accounts during the open enrollment period with an effective date of January 1, 2021.

The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is on November 18, 2020.

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