Health Insurance Premiums

December 25, 2011 by staff 

Health Insurance Premiums, A study of Wisconsin’s state employee health insurance plan shows La Crosse has the highest single monthly premium rates of the state’s metro areas.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin released its sixth annual Wisconsin Health Insurance Cost Ranking, showing a 32 percent variation between Madison, the lowest-cost metro area, and La Crosse, which amounts to a difference of $2,177 per year for single health coverage.

But local hospital officials say it’s an unfair comparison to make, since the report looks at health care premium costs for just one group.

“For the Gundersen Lutheran Health Plan, this is a relatively small portion of our total insured health care population,” said Dr. Gary Lenth. “Therefore, it is not a reliable comparison for our overall insurance premium costs.”

Premium costs are influenced by several factors, such as how patients use services and the health of the population covered, he said. Because of that, there will always be differences in cost from one region to another and from one insured group to another.

Although some areas of Wisconsin have relatively higher costs than others, the ranking finds that every metro area of the state except Madison has higher health insurance inflation than the national average. It shows Wisconsin health insurance premiums have increased 182 percent over the past decade compared to 164 percent nationally.

Mayo Clinic Heath System in La Crosse offered this statement on the rankings: “The payer mix in each community – whether it be public insurance or individual, small group, large employer – is the key driver of insurance cost. We will review this report to glean if there are valuable lessons to be obtained, but we remain committed to our communities and the insurers we work with to provide highest quality of care.”

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