Wisconsin's Group Insurance Board is considering a proposal to self-fund the State Group Health Program. Roughly 250,000 state and local government employees, retirees and their families receive comprehensive health care coverage through the program. The current, fully insured program is served by 17 health plans that compete regionally based on cost and quality.

The State Group Health Program's current market competition approach is a proven cost-containment strategy that has saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars or more. Switching to self-funding would increase costs for the state and taxpayers while eliminating consumer choice and competition in the market. Self-funding would also create disruption and instability in the market.

The resources on this page will help interested readers understand the critical issues that must be considered in evaluating the self-funding proposal.

Self-Funding Issue Briefs

National Expert Barak Richman
on Competition and Wisconsin's Unique Market

  • Barak Richman (combined clips - 4:46)

Expert Analysis of the Self-Funding Issue

  • Musser: For Wisconsin, Market Competition is the Right Way

    Former Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner and Wisconsin Health Information Organization CEO Jo Musser writes in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel column that the alternative is consolidation--fewer health plans, fewer consumer choices, potential disruption and reduced access.

  • HCTrends: The Perils of Self-Funding

    Self-funding is not the answer for certain employers in competitive markets. In some cases projected savings never materialize, costs grow, choices are lost and care is disrupted. This subject was explored in a recent analysis in industry newsletter HCTrends.

  • The Full Impact of Self-Funding Cannot Be Determined from an RFP

    The results of a request for proposals (RFP) to evaluate self-funding can provide a vendor's projections of administrative costs, but the full impact of the proposed change cannot be determined from proposers' cost projections. The Benefit Services Group explains there are serious considerations beyond the scope of the RFP process that should be explored, including the potential harm to Wisconsin's competitive health insurance market.

  • Why Self-Funding could Jeopardize the Benefits
    of Wisconsin's Effective State Group Health Program and Competitive Market

    The Benefit Services Group describes Wisconsin's unique State Group Health Program and competitive health insurance market and explains why Wisconsin will not reap many of the benefits of self-funding. Projected savings may never be realized, putting at risk the State Budget and funding for other state programs. Self-funding would also create disruption and instability in the market and increase costs for the state.

Multi-Stakeholder Coalition

  • Coalition Memo to Governor Scott Walker

    A 14-member coalition delivered a memo to Governor Scott Walker November 14 to state its concerns about the impact self-funding the State Group Health Program will have on consumers, the competitive health care market and the state.

Miscellaneous Resources

Presentations from 2016 Education Program: Competition Matters

  • Barak Richman: Competition Matters

    Market competition expert Barak Richman was the main speaker at the 2016 Education Program. The Duke University professor of law and business said more competition in health care and health insurance markets results in lower costs and higher quality. He said other states can learn something from Wisconsin, which has the most competitive health insurance market in the country.

  • Kevin O'Connor: The Role of State Government

    Chair of the Antitrust and Trade Regulation Practice Group at Godfrey & Kahn and former Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General, Kevin O'Connor said Wisconsin's competitive health insurance market was developed over time through enforcement of antitrust laws, smart health care purchasing decisions by the state and avoidance of anti-competition regulations. He said self-funding the State Group Health Program could undermine many of Wisconsin's historical pro-competition policies and their positive results.

  • Justin Sydnor: Two Visions for Wisconsin Health Care

    UW Business School Professor Justin Sydnor presented two visions for Wisconsin health care. He said research is broadly supportive of the vision that represents Wisconsin's competitive health care and insurance markets.

  • Jerry Frye: The View from the Wisconsin Market

    Broker and consultant Gerald Frye of The Benefit Services Group said Wisconsin's current health insurance structure is delivering a high level of value and state budget stability. He said the reasons many states and employers self-fund don't apply to the State Group Health Program.


Forgot my password

PDF files on this site require Adobe Reader.
Download a free copy