April 23, 2014

Report shows cost of health care varies widely in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents are paying very different prices for health insurance, depending on where they live. That’s according to a new report from Citizen Action of Wisconsin, which compared health insurance costs, rate of inflation, and quality of care in the state’s major cities and regional areas.

Executive Director Robert Kraig says the report found very large cost variations between regions of the state. It amounts to a 24 percent difference between Milwaukee and Racine, the highest cost areas, and Madison, the lowest cost metro area in the state. That comes out to about an $1,800 a year variation in the cost to cover a single person.

The report found health care premiums in the Badger State have climbed by almost 193 percent statewide since 2000, although Kraig notes some areas have seen inflation as high as 300 percent over the last decade. He says it’s just a huge increase in cost taking away money that could be going to wages or other business expansion.

The report also shows those areas with the highest cost often had the lowest quality of care.

Kraig hopes the information will help the state effectively implement the federal Affordable Care Act, which he believes will help bring costs down and get health insurance premium prices under control.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:10)