UPDATE: Analysis - Madison would see increase in insurance rates - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Analysis shows Madison would see greatest increase in insurance rates under Obamacare


MADISON (WKOW) -- A state analysis shows Wisconsin's health insurance rates will see a huge increase under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.  But several health reform advocates are questioning the study, saying Gov. Walker's administration seems to be trying to mislead the public.

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) released the analysis Tuesday morning, which shows the federal health insurance exchange that opens next month in Wisconsin will boost rates by more than 50 percent on average.

"What we tried to do is make, as best you can, an apples to apples comparison from current rates to what the rates may look like in January 2014," said Dan Schwartzer, OCI Deputy Commissioner.

What the OCI came up with for Madison is startling.  It shows rates for a 21 year-old will jump up by 125 percent, by 73 percent for a 40 year-old and 70 percent for a 63 year old.

"So, we used a $2,000 deductible with drug coverage for what people have today, versus a two thousand dollar deductible in the exchange, which would be the silver plan," said Schwartzer.  The plans in the exchange will be divided into four categories:  bronze, silver, gold or platinum.

Health insurance reform advocate Bobby Peterson says its hard to trust the analysis.

"This seems part of a process that's partial information, misinformation and you know, its scaring people," said Peterson, who runs ABC For Health of Madison, a group that advocates for health insurance on behalf of low-income consumers.

Peterson says OCI's analysis doesn't show the data its based on and doesn't take into account federal subsidies that will greatly reduce the price of premiums for most people.

"We try to separate the two," explained Schwartzer.  "Because if the subsidy goes down over the next two years, which, we're not anticipating it is, but if it would go down - because we don't control that - the premium is still the premium and somehow they're still gonna have to pay that premium."

"The process right now only raises more questions, only raises more confusion for consumers and I think there too many questions and too many confused consumers to begin with," said Peterson.

OCI officials say they are trying to answer some of those questions this week.

They are holding town hall meetings on the federal health insurance exchange across the state.

They will be doing that in Madison this Friday from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the American Family Insurance training center.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance released data Tuesday morning showing the cost of health insurance in the Madison area will be as much as 125 percent higher in the federal insurance exchange set up under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

The OCI analysis compares the cost increases for a $2,000 deductible that includes drug coverage in the individual insurance market, examining plans for a 21-year-old, a 40-year-old, and a 63-year-old. The rates were examined separately for Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison, Appleton, Wausau, Kenosha, and LaCrosse.

In Madison, the cost would increase by 125 percent for a 21 year-old, 73 percent for a 40 year-old and 70 percent for a 63 year-old.

Those increases are far higher than in any other city.  The next highest increases would be seen in Milwaukee, where the cost will increase by 78 percent for a 21 year-old, by 41 percent for a 40 year-old and by 45 percent for a 63 year-old.

Kenosha would see the lowest increase in costs.  The price would increase by 38 percent there for a 21 year-old, by 15 percent for a 40 year-old and by 10 percent for a 63 year-old.

"It appears premiums will increase for most consumers," said Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel.  "And, while there is no question that some consumers will have subsidies and may not pay these higher rates, someone will pay for the increased premiums whether it is the consumer or the federal government."

The OCI analysis compared the current cost of that type of insurance plan to the rates recently submitted by the insurance companies that will be involved in the federal exchange.  But the OCI analysis does not offer any reasons for the differences in cost increases statewide.

At least one group that advocates for health insurance reform is questioning the OCI's findings.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin put out its own release saying that the analysis done by OCI is misleading. 

CAW says the rates released by OCI do not include tax credits which will be available to make health insurance affordable and therefore do not report the true sticker price of insurance coverage purchased on the new marketplaces.

"It is extremely disappointing that the Walker Administration is trying to deliberately confuse the public about insurance costs at a time when consumers need good information on how to obtain good affordable coverage," said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

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