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Wisconsin to vote on self-funding state workers' health coverage

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The Group Insurance Board in Wisconsin will vote in February on whether to consider self-funding state employees’ health insurance, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The Group Insurance Board will vote on Feb. 17 to issue requests for proposals from companies that would help with self-funding the State Group Health Program, the journal reported Friday.

The information gathered from the proposals will then help the board decide on whether to pursue a self-funded model, the journal reported.

The board met Thursday to discuss a commissioned November report by New York-based Segal Consulting, a unit of The Segal Group Inc., which found the state could save $42.1 million annually by self-funding its state group health plan, a move that would eliminate costs from the state’s premium tax and the Affordable Care Act’s market share fees, according to Segal’s report.

Already, concern has sprung up regarding the subject. The Wisconsin Association of Heath Plans in November said moving to a self-funded model would disrupt the Wisconsin’s “competitive health insurance market,” according to a statement Nov. 18 by the association.

The association said the State Group Health Program caters to about 250,000 state employees, retirees, local government employees, and their dependents, and represents 14% of the state’s health insurance market.

“Eliminating 14% of Wisconsin’s competitive health insurance market through self-funding would deal a serious blow to Wisconsin’s vibrant health insurance market,” Nancy Wenzel, CEO of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, said in the statement. “It will create disruption and instability in local markets, limit the ability of state employees to choose their own doctors and place the state at greater financial risk by turning fixed costs into variable and unexpected costs.”

In the statement, the association urged for more analysis of the Segal report.