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State officials consider self-insuring workers

Health Insurance
Health Insurance

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin officials have renewed an effort to self-insure over 200,000 state employees who now get their health coverage from private HMO's.  

According to the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, the state Employee Trust Funds agency issued a request last Friday for proposals from those who would administer the program.  

If all goes according to plan, the state would issue a two-year contract in September. Under a self-insurance package, the state would directly pay employees for their health benefits, and assume the risk for losses.  

Among other things, it would give management more control over the benefits the employees receive.  

The Deloitte consulting firm has found that self-insurance would save taxpayers up to $20 million a year -- but it could add over $100 million in other costs.  

The Wisconsin Association of Health Plans opposed the idea when it was first considered last fall. The state's largest employees' union also balked.  

The health plans' group says self-insuring state workers would eliminate about 15 percent of Wisconsin's total market for full insurance -- and it would raise health costs for the rest of us by around $200 million.  

The Deloitte report looked simply at self-insurance. Trust funds' insurance administrator Lisa Ellinger said the state's goal is broader, and it would make recommendations after getting an overall look at the total insurance structure.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)

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