A new study reveals wide regional disparities in health insurance costs. "We find that although Wisconsin is a very high cost state in general, some regions of the state are even more expensive than others," said Robert Kraig, Policy Director with the Institute for One Wisconsin .
What's driving the disparity? Kraig says consolidation of health systems is a major contributor to health insurance costs. "Areas of the state that have the least competition between the major hospital systems . . seem to have the highest costs," said Kraig. Madison, with it's large buying pool of state employees, has the state's lowest health insurance costs, while Racine, the Chippewa Valley, La Crosse and Metro Milwaukee have the highest. Kraig says addressing the issue ought to be a high priority for the next session of the Legislature; "this . . . really is a threat to economic growth and job creation."
On the issue of "cost shifting" Kraig said that while areas of the state with high numbers of uninsured residents, and low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement costs, do have high health insurance costs, so do other areas of the state where those issues are not a factor.