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Study: Wisconsin Schools Could Save With ETF-Style Health Plan

By John Forester | March 25, 2021

From WisPolitics…

Wisconsin’s school districts could save up to $5,000 a year per employee by pooling health care resources, a new think tank study says.

Study author and former Deputy Insurance Commissioner J.P. Wieske, now with Horizon Government Affairs, said if schools teamed up on health resources in a model similar to the state’s Employee Trust Funds health plan, districts could save more than $500 million in the aggregate.

He noted most schools developed their current health plans based on regulations from 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 meant to expand insurance options. And while language in the law did benefit some districts, according to Wieske, costs also have huge differences between districts in ways that can’t be attributed to the health plans themselves.

“Even though many school districts were able to take advantage of the flexibility of Act 10, we found that what school districts paid for health insurance varied widely,” Wieske said, noting costs ranged from $450 per month all the way to $1,400 for single coverage. “The savings aren’t magic.”

The study argues the larger risk pool through an ETF-like program would help lower costs by spreading risk and cutting back on administration.

According to the report, school districts on average spend over $21,000 a year on family health policies, with 21 districts having family policy deductibles $10,000 or higher. It said the high costs in part factor in because school employees tend to be older on average than private-sector employees.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s leading teacher’s union, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

See the plan here.

See the release here.

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