Social and Financial Impact for Health Care Mandates Legislation Signed into law

On March 30, Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 543 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 288.

Authored by Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), Act 288 prevents the legislature from holding a hearing on or taking a vote on legislation that creates new health care insurance mandates until after it has received a currently-required report from the Commissioner of Insurance.

Under current law, the Commissioner of Insurance is required to submit a report on the social and financial impact of any health insurance mandates. Social impact factors in such a report include:

  • The portion of the state‚Äôs residents who use the treatments or services covered by the health insurance mandate;

  • The number of persons who would be eligible for coverage under the health insurance mandate;

  • The availability of insurance coverage for these persons without the health insurance mandate.

Financial impact factors in such a report include:

  • Whether the health insurance mandate may increase or decrease the costs of the treatments or services covered by the health insurance mandate;

  • The impact of the health insurance mandate on total costs of health care in this state.

While the Commissioner of Insurance is statutorily required to produce such reports, the reports have occasionally been issued after the legislature has considered the legislation or, in some instances, no report was ever issued by the Commissioner.  Act 288 closes this loophole by preventing legislative consideration of a bill triggering such a report until after the report has actually been issued.   The Act also expands what triggers a report to also include legislation to require a particular benefit design for the treatment of a particular disease or condition, closing another loophole in the law.