July 24, 2014

Obamacare cost disparity in western Wisconsin counties

It will cost considerably more to purchase health care through Obamacare in three western Wisconsin counties than in the neighboring Twin Cities region of Minnesota. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that’s because of the premiums created within the more than 400 geographic rating areas of the Affordable Care Act.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul region – the nation’s 16th largest metro area – has the nation’s lowest benchmark premium for a 50-year-old non-smoker. That same individual in western Wisconsin’s Pierce, Polk, and Saint Croix counties has the nation’s second-highest benchmark premium. The cost would be about twice as much in Wisconsin, and that’s one of the ACA’s highest disparities for neighboring regions.

There are several possible reasons for the pricing disparity, including less competition between insurers on the Wisconsin side of the border. The Pioneer Press said the price difference could also be the result of state Medicaid costs, each state’s high-risk pool programs, and renewal dates for various policies.