MN vs WI Small Biz Edition 2014

On a media call today that included State Senator Chris Larson, State Representative Jon Richards, and Wisconsin Business Alliance Executive Director Lori Compas, Citizen Action of Wisconsin released a new report documenting vast differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin in the cost for health insurance on the small group insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Click here to hear the audio of the media call.

The report also compares health insurance small group marketplace rates for Wisconsin’s major metro areas, and reveals major differentials in cost.

The report, "A Tale of Two States Small Business Edition: Why Wisconsin's Health Insurance Small Group Marketplace Premiums are Higher than Minnesota's", shows that two critical decisions made differently in the two states explain a substantial portion of the rate disparity. Download the full report

Key Report Findings

  • Wisconsin small group Silver plans start off 18% higher than similar plans in Minnesota, or $675 more per employee covered per year. 
  • Wisconsin small group Gold plans start off 11.5% higher than similar plans in Minnesota, or $521.52 more per employee covered per year. 
  • Metro comparisons show even larger variations. 
    • Milwaukee small group Gold plans cost $1,883 (+38.5%) more per employee than Minneapolis.
    • Eau Claire small group Silver plans cost $1,685 (+40.1%) more per employee than Minneapolis


  • Much like our previous research on the individual market disparities between the states, two key decisions in Wisconsin’s Affordable Care Act implementation play a substantial role in raising health insurance rates in Wisconsin relative to Minnesota: the decision to reject enhanced federal Medicaid dollars, and the decision not to implement rigorous review of health insurance rates.
  • Wisconsin has the opportunity to bring down rates by accepting enhanced federal Medicaid funds and using state powers such as reviewing and rejecting excessive rates to make health insurance more affordable.

Making health care reform work for Wisconsin residents is a critical public policy question for the state. Despite the ideological divide over health care reform, few doubt that the economic future of Wisconsin is tied to having a vibrant small business sector. As such, states which make health coverage more affordable for small businesses will also generate greater economic opportunity than those which do not.

The full report can be viewed here

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