Gov. Scott Walker said today Wisconsin will seek greater flexibility from the federal government if Washington lawmakers don’t repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, following projections showing individual insurance plans sold on the federally run exchange will increase by 36 percent next year for Wisconsin.
Walker hinted in a statement today that the state could seek a waiver under the Affordable Care Act in an effort to stabilize the market. “These increases are unsustainable and unacceptable,” Walker said. “While our state remains one of the best in the nation for health insurance coverage and quality, Obamacare is disrupting health care markets in our state and across the country. If Washington, D.C. fails to deliver on its promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare, we will explore our options in seeking greater flexibility from the federal government to help lower costs for Wisconsin citizens.”
According to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, a 21-year-old in Milwaukee County on the second-lowest cost “silver plan," will see his or her monthly premium increase by 50 percent, from $297 to $444, in 2018. Brown, Door, Manitowoc and Marinette counties would see increases as high as 105 percent.
The rate increases impact only the individual market and not the group market, where most people get their coverage.
The insurance commissioner’s office said more than 75,000 Wisconsin residents will lose their current coverage and need to find new health plans because of the exit of three insurers from the exchange. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Wisconsin and Health Tradition Health Plan have announced they will not be selling on the exchange in Wisconsin next year.
Remaining on the exchange in Milwaukee County next year are Network Health Plan, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative and Children's Community Health Plan.
Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.
Ted Nickel, Wisconsin insurance commissioner, said his office is exploring the option of applying for a waiver from the federal government.
"We stand committed to continuing our efforts in ensuring a stable and competitive market and affordable coverage for Wisconsin consumers," he said.