Individual Insurance Market Options Grow for 2020

October 15, 2019

On Oct. 10, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) released information about health insurers that will be available on the individual market for 2020. Sixty-one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties will have three or more insurers available. By comparison, only 46 counties offered that level of competition in 2018.

Many Wisconsinites will also benefit from lower premium rates in 2020. As announced earlier this year, rates on Wisconsin’s individual health insurance market will decrease an average of 3.2% from 2019 rates.

Increased competition and lower premiums were the key motives for WHA’s strong leadership and support for the bipartisan Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan (WIHSP). WIHSP was signed into law by former Gov. Scott Walker in 2018, and fully funded in Gov. Tony Evers’ recently-enacted state budget. The WIHSP created a reinsurance pool that covers a portion of high-cost claims in the individual market and has been credited for two straight years of premium decreases and the expansion of insurance options across the state.

“The WIHSP is the gift that keeps giving,” said Eric Borgerding, WHA president and CEO. “A strong and stable health insurance market is a win for patients, providers and hospitals.”

Between 2015 and 2017 several health insurers left the Wisconsin market, but the implementation of the WIHSP has led to both the return and expansion of service areas by insurers. For 2020 there will be 13 Wisconsin insurers offering plans on the individual market, up from 12 in 2019.

The biggest improvement for 2020 will occur in northeastern Wisconsin. In 2018, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative was the only health insurer available through the exchange marketplace in Brown County. In 2020, five health insurers will sell health plans on the marketplace.

“The increased competition should help keep premiums reasonable and ensure patients have significant choice in their health care options,” Borgerding said.

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s exchange marketplace plans in 2019 was down about 9% from the previous year, following a 7% drop from 2017 to 2018. WHA has been a strong proponent for additional resources to help expand coverage and connect the nearly 50,000 people currently eligible for Medicaid and the estimated 240,000 people currently eligible for subsidized insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace who have not enrolled in either program.

Open enrollment starts Nov. 1. An interactive map of health insurers available by county can be found here.

For more information about open enrollment, contact WHA Vice President of Public Policy Lisa Ellinger.

This story originally appeared in the October 15, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter