GIB Reviews Self-Insurance Responses, Delays Action

On December 13, the Group Insurance Board (GIB) convened to discuss options as it considers the nine responses received under the state’s Request for Proposals to move employees to a self-insurance model. Under a self-insurance model, the state would assume the risk for claims and directly pay benefits. Currently, the state contracts with and pays a fixed monthly premium to 17 health insurers.

The state has been examining moving to a self-insurance model for several years. A November 2015 report found that there are financial reasons for the state to self-insure, potentially resulting in $40 million to $50 million in annual savings.

On the cusp of the GIB’s meeting, the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance, Sen. Darling and Rep. Nygren, wrote the GIB expressing concerns about “the possibility of regionalization as it pertains to our health care system.” Specifically, the co-chairs wrote “[a] move to regionalization would create artificial government boundaries and essentially draw a map of coverage where Wisconsin already has viable, functioning marketplaces” and that the regionalization options may not save state money. Overall, the co-chairs expressed hope that the GIB “will take a deliberate approach” and requested a meeting with the GIB chairs to discuss this issue.

After a closed session deliberation, the GIB took no action. Discussion is anticipated to continue at the January GIB meeting. If GIB moves forward with a self-insurance proposal, the Joint Committee on Finance would have the opportunity to review and take action on a proposed contract.