MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The administration of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, R, came out Tuesday with an analysis showing that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will lead to big cost increases for many consumers who use the state’s new public exchange.
Health policy groups questioned whether officials released the kind of data members of the public need to make fair, apples-to-apples price comparisons.
Wisconsin’s federally run exchange, or marketplace, is set to open for enrollment starting Oct. 1 with coverage beginning Jan. 1. The exchange will offer small businesses, individuals and families a choice of private health plans, along with access to new federal subsidy programs.
Exchange managers are estimating that 500,000 Wisconsin residents, including 92,000 who are now on Medicaid and 400,000 uninsured people, could shop for coverage through the exchange.
A month ago Walker’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance announced that 13 insurance companies would be offering plans to individuals through the exchange, but did not provide any details about rates or coverage areas.
On Tuesday, the insurance commissioner released an analysis showing what it said was the difference between what individual coverage will cost for a plan with a $2,000 deductible and prescription drug coverage currently and through the exchange. It did not examine costs in the group market.
The analysis looked at rates for individuals aged 21, 40 and 63 in nine Wisconsin cities. Rates would increase in all 24 of its scenarios, ranging from 9.7 percent for a 63-year-old in Kenosha to nearly 125 percent for a 21-year-old in Madison.
However, the analysis didn’t take into account federal subsidies, which are expected to lower costs as much as 77 percent, or show the difference in benefits or co-pays.
“I think they’ve done nothing but confuse and mislead the public rather than give them serious information,” said Robert Kraig, director of the health care advocacy group Citizen Action Wisconsin. “These look cooked and they’re even hard to analyze because of the way they were released.”