Citizen Action Files Open Records Request for Health Insurance Rates

For Immediate Release--September 30, 2014

Citizen Action and Consumers Union ask Walker Administration to release the health insurance rates in a timely fashion.

Contacts:

Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Kevin Kane (414) 550-8280 kevin.kane@citizenactionwi.org

Statewide: Today Citizen Action of Wisconsin filed an open records request for the rates Wisconsin health consumers will pay on the new federal marketplace in 2015. So far 33 states and the District of Columbia have released their rates, with many more to follow in the coming days and weeks. Minnesota will release its rates on October 1.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin and the national consumer watchdog, Consumers Union, are concerned that the Walker Administration could sit on the data up to November 15th, when open enrollment begins.

This is the second consecutive year Citizen Action has had to file an open records request to access the insurance rates that should be publicly available. Last year the Wisconsin Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OCI) falsely claimed that the actual rates are “proprietary and would not be readily understood by the general public.”

Last week the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) released partial data showing rate increase averages for existing health insurance plans, but continues to refuse to release the actual rates consumers will pay. As reported by Greg Neumann at WKOW, rate increase percentages were made available, but this data does not contain the actual rates consumers will see, any new plans from existing marketplace insurers or any details about plans being offered by the new insurance companies entering the online marketplace.

“There is no good reason for the 2015 rates not to be made public now,”said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Governor Walker’s Insurance Commissioner has the duty and obligation to release the new health insurance rates in advance so advocates and assisters can best advise consumers.”

"The public can only work to hold insurers accountable if they can view the rate filings," said Dena Mendelsohn, a Health Policy Analyst at Consumers Union, the national consumer rights organization. "Based on our experience in states where filings are public, sunshine is the best disinfectant. There is every reason that the Wisconsin Commissioner should release the rate information he is are holding, as so many other states have done."

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