Health Insurance Rates In Wisconsin Above Average


Ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s full implementation in 2014, Wisconsin insurers have raised their individual policy rates faster than the national average. Both the government and watchdog groups are keeping track.

Earlier this year, a national study by the Society of Actuaries made a big splash. It predicted insurers will pay a third more once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. Some of that cost increase would likely be passed on to consumers. This isn’t the only group watching rates and making predictions. Steve Zeleznick is with HealthPocket, a national health research organization that tracks premiums.

“It’s hard to say that anybody’s crystal ball is perfect [about] where the rates are going to go, but it’s something very important to keep an eye on.”

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A snapshot of rates from February to May of this year shows rates are holding steady so far. Premiums for individual policies increased 1.2 percent nationally. In Wisconsin, however, the increase was 5.4 percent. One insurer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, pushed the state’s average up by boosting individual premiums nearly 10 percent. The information comes via HealthPocket’s “Ratewatch” feature. Zeleznick says the site is designed to help consumers select and rank health plans.

“We’ve done a lot of research on consumer views, and not surprisingly, the level of premiums will drive very significantly people’s selection of health plans and their satisfaction with the health reform law.”

The majority of changes under the Affordable Care Act will occur in 2014. People will be required to buy insurance, if they don’t get it through work. Subsidies will be available depending on income, and online marketplaces are scheduled to run to allow people to easily compare and purchase private health coverage.

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