Group Insurance Board votes to approve self-insurance plan

Board approves plan by a 10-1 vote
Group Insurance Board votes to approve self-insurance plan
Ferre' Dollar via CNN

The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board has voted 10-1 to have the state start a self-insurance program.

The board met in Madison in closed session discussing the proposal most of Wednesday. The board was planning to make a decision at their December meeting, but pushed the decision until Wednesday.

The decision will impact 250,000 state workers and their families.

The state’s Group Insurance Board has been considering a variety of options, including a move to self-insurance, or paying directly for employee health care rather than through an HMO. The plans will still be administered by insurance companies — locally that’s Dean and Unity.

“This board has a fiduciary responsibility to hold costs down to the best of our ability while preserving benefits,” said Michael Heifetz, with the Group Insurance Board.

Supporters of the plan said it shouldn’t impact people’s provider.

“What the board decided to do is investigate, are there alternatives to our current structure that can maintain our benefits, improve quality and contain costs over time? Those are really the goals,” said Lisa Ellinger, director of the Office of Strategic Health Policy at Employee Trust Funds.

Ellinger said 98 percent of providers will still be available to state employees, but the state, not insurance carriers, will be assuming the risk.

Competing consultant reports to the board have said they could save $40 million or cost the state $100 million.

The proposal has to go before the Joint Finance Committee to get final approval.