Gov. Scott Walker’s administration filed a request with the federal government seeking a waiver that would allow Wisconsin to offer a $200 million reinsurance program designed to lower premiums and attract more providers to the private marketplace.
Walker said he was confident President Donald Trump’s administration would grant the waiver this summer. “We feel very, very positive about our ability to get an approval and do so on a timely basis,” he said.
Under the reinsurance program, the government would provide money to health insurance providers to pay about 50 percent of medical claims costing between $50,000 and $200,000 starting in 2019. Deputy Wisconsin insurance commissioner J.P. Wieske said insurance providers will be required to file reports showing what rates would have been without the program so the savings could be calculated.
Rates are at least 20 percent lower this year in Alaska and Minnesota, and about 7 percent less in Oregon, the only three states with a reinsurance program. There was also a reinsurance program under the federal health care law for its first three years.
Walker originally said the state’s share under the 5-year program would be $50 million annually with the federal government picking up $150 million. But he said Wednesday the state’s share, to be taken from unspecified Medicaid savings, would actually be $34 million a year with the federal government paying the rest.
There were 227,000 people enrolled in an ACA plan through the private marketplace in Wisconsin in 2017, but that dropped to just over 202,000 this year. The decrease came at the same time premiums increased 44 percent from an average of $520 to $751 a month. They are projected to drop to $710 next year with the reinsurance program