Group Insurance Board Announces Single Digit Premium Rate Increases

MADISON, (Wis.) – Health insurance premium rate increases for the majority of members covered under the state’s Group Health Insurance Program will average approximately 7% next year, according to a Group Insurance Board (Board) announcement. This marks the fifth straight year the program has held cost increases to single digits. The program covers more than 230,000 state and local government employees, retirees, and their dependents.

Individual rate increases may be higher or lower for some local government employers and some health plan options under the state plan, explained David Stella, Secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), “but overall, this is good news.” The innovative program design changes and strategies implemented five years ago not only “continue to prove themselves effective,” Stella said, “they are key elements in our work to keep cost increases from rising as much as they otherwise would have, while maintaining a quality program at a reasonable cost for public employers, employees and retirees.”

Highlights from the 2009 premium rates approved by the Board include an average 7% increase for state employee health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, and an average 7.1% increase for HMOs in the Wisconsin Public Employers program, which covers local government employees. Stella also said he is especially pleased that rate increases were held to just 2% for the approximately 10,000 members age 65 and over participating in the Medicare Plus $1 Million program.

WPPA members with questions are welcome to contact WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer at the Madison headquarters.

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