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September 13, 2013

Health Insurance Exchange Rates
Beginning in October the newly created health insurance exchange marketplace will begin accepting applications from individuals.  While many have touted the benefits of the new exchange, few have mentioned the reality that will accompany them.  Recently, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) released its initial analysis of rate filings in the individual market.
Insurance companies interested in offering plans through the exchange are required to file their rates with OCI.  These rates fluctuate based on geographical location as well as age.   Below is a chart that compares the cost increases for a $2,000 deductible that includes drug coverage in the individual insurance market. 
Percent Increase From Pre to Post 2014, Average Per Area
Age Milwaukee Eau Claire Green Bay Madison Appleton Wausau Kenosha LaCrosse
21 78.11 68.75 53.73 124.85 54.18 77.44 37.59 88.53
40 40.85 48.35 53.73 73.43 36.75 35.03 15.15 41.58
63 45.48 58.12 22.54 70.04 32.01 26.07 9.72 37.29

While this chart does not factor in the amount of subsidy that will be available to many entering the exchange, it does highlight a disturbing trend of increasing costs.  Young healthy individuals, many who are just beginning their professional career, will be hit the hardest.  A large portion of these young people are also facing significant debt in the form of student loans.  The increase in premium costs will be paid by someone whether it is the individual or the government through subsidies.  
There are some potential positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act, but I believe we can all agree that increased premiums is not one of them.  The full release from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance can be found at

Act 10 Upheld
Earlier this week a federal judge ruled that Act 10 is constitutional.  Finally, we are able to move forward with the common sense reforms included in Act 10 and put this behind us. While there are still cases pending at the state level, this case shows that our reforms were legitimate and constitutional. 
I am confident that the objections raised at the state level will also share similar results.  We need to be looking forward and focusing on how we can improve our economy and encourage job growth instead of concentrating on the past.  

Blue Books Are In
The 2013-13 Blue Books have been delivered.  The Wisconsin Blue book, which is published on a biennial basis, serves as the official guide to Wisconsin's state government, history, and culture.  Each edition includes the biographies of our elected state officials, information on the three branches of state government, a copy of the Wisconsin State Constitution, and much more.  Please contact my office if you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new Blue Book. 
When contacting me with your request, remember to include your name, address, and the number of Blue Books you would like.  I will accommodate all requests as supplies last. 
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