MADISON – Governor Scott Walker visited Stoughton Hospital today to highlight his new Health Care Stability Plan, which stabilizes rising premium costs for Wisconsinites under Obamacare and protects seniors and people with preexisting conditions.
“Our Health Care Stability Plan will help bring needed peace of mind and stability to Wisconsin families by: addressing out of control premiums for those on the individual marketplace, requesting a permanent waiver for SeniorCare, and protecting people with preexisting conditions," said Governor Walker. "Wisconsin is a leader in health care quality and access, and now it's time for us to be a leader bringing certainty to Wisconsinites.”
While most consumers receive insurance through their employer, or through government programs (i.e. BadgerCare and Medicare), more than 200,000 Wisconsinites purchase health insurance in the individual market. Many are self-employed, and others may work at employers who don’t offer coverage. But for these Wisconsinites, the individual market is important, and it has been failing them.
With insurers exiting the market, shock rate increases, and consumers facing fewer choices, premium costs are rising. The individual market needs to be stabilized. Governor Walker proposes to utilize the State Innovation Waiver process under Obamacare to create a state-based reinsurance program like others that were approved for other states. This is the fastest route to having an impact on the entire individual health insurance market. It will require legislative approval and will use both state and federal resources.
Governor Walker is calling on the State Senate to pass pre-existing condition protection legislation, which passed the Wisconsin State Assembly as Assembly Bill 365 in June 2017. The bill, as amended, prohibits a group health benefit plan from imposing a preexisting condition exclusion or any coverage limitations related to a preexisting condition. It also prohibits a group or individual health insurance policy from taking into account a person’s health status while setting coverage rates.
The SeniorCare waiver, which subsidizes prescription drugs for seniors age 65 and older, was originally approved in 2002 and has been extended four times, most recently in 2015. The waiver is slated to expire on December 31, 2018. Governor Walker is requesting a permanent extension on the waiver, which currently serves about 60,000 seniors per month.