New Report: Wisconsinites Still Pay Far More Than Minnesotans for Health Insurance

For Immediate Release-- October 9, 2014

Contacts: Kevin Kane (414) 550-8280   -  Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324

New preliminary cost report shows Minnesota 2nd year health insurance rates still lower than Wisconsin. Authors to hold phone briefings on data.

Statewide - Today Citizen Action released a new preliminary report update to our widely covered comparison of Minnesota and Wisconsin 2014 health rates, “A Tale of Two States.” The new preliminary report which compares 2015 rates in Minnesota to 2014 rates in Wisconsin shows large cost disparities between the two states.

The report is available here.  The authors will hold phone briefings on Thursday Oct 9th at 11am and 3pm to further discuss the new findings. The authors are available for interviews before/after.

Unlike most states, the Walker Administration has refused to release Wisconsin’s 2015 rates.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin has filed an open records request to obtain the rates. As an interim step, we are releasing this preliminary report which compares Minnesota’s 2015 rates to the 2014 rates in Wisconsin. The results show that no matter how the 2015 rates come in, Wisconsin consumers will pay substantially more for health insurance than their counterparts in Minnesota (Data points below and in full report).

What: Phone Briefing: Citizen Action to explain preliminary findings of new health cost variations between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

When: Thursday October 9th, at 11am and again 3pm


  • Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin

  • Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer, Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Dial in Number: (605) 562-0020      Access Code: 361-553-698

At 11am and again 3pm

Key Preliminary Report Findings:

  • Statewide (Wisconsin 2014 rates vs. Minnesota 2015 rates) comparisons show large disparities. Controlling for population densities...

    • Bronze plans start 45.7% more expensive, averaging $1,137.48 more a year

    • Silver plans 40.3% more, averaging $1,247.40 more a year, and 

    • Gold plans 46.5% more, +$1,700.43 a year.

  • This disparity is even higher between Wisconsin Metros with Greater Twin Cities area.

    • While Dane County, Rock County and Fox Valley are tied for lowest Silver cost plans, they are still 32.6% more expensive than Twin Cities Metro.

    • Western Wisconsin border counties are up to 174% higher than their Minnesota neighbors.

    • Health insurance premiums in Milwaukee are 66% to 73% higher than in the Twin Cities.

  • The report shows that this giant disparity is not because of underlying health costs and demographic differences, but policy. We conclude that the public policies Minnesota has employed could also lead to substantially lower costs in Wisconsin.

    • Wisconsin individual policy consumers could see between $747-$852 in yearly cost reductions with stronger rate review policies.

    • Wisconsin individual policy consumers could see between $207-$251 in yearly cost reductions by accepting federal Medicaid funds.

Wisconsin rates will likely remain substantially more than Minnesota in 2015, but until the Walker Administration releases the 2015 rates, a complete comparison will not be possible.


Fig 1: Weighted Average of lowest cost plan in all state rating areas, averaging ages 25, 40 & 60


WI 2014

MN 2015

Percent Higher

Annual Difference*
















* - amount average Wisconsinite will pay extra per year in health insurance


Fig 2: Wisconsin Metro lowest cost comparison with Twin Cities, ages 25, 40 & 60



 - Percent


 - Percent


 - Percent






















Eau Claire














La Crosse







Racine/ Kenosha














Fox Valley2




























Brown/ Manitowoc







1 – Includes Portage & Wood counties in addition to Marathon County.

2 – Includes Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan and Dodge Counties  

Fig 3: Policy Findings from Previous Research

From October 2013 “A Tale of Two States: Why Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Individual Marketplace Premiums are Dramatically Higher than Minnesota

1. Had Wisconsin mirrored Minnesota’s Rate Review Policy

up to $852 less on lowest cost Silver plan, annual

up to $71 less on lowest cost Silver plan, monthly

2. Had Wisconsin accepted Medicaid funds

$207 less on lowest cost Silver plan, annual

$17.25 less on lowest cost Silver, monthly

From July 2014 Taking the Next Steps: Role of State in Restraining Health Insurance Costs

1. States that have “prior authorization” rate review

$747.12 less on average individual plan, annual

$62.26 less on average individual plan, monthly

2. Had Wisconsin accepted federal Medicaid funds

$251.29 less  on average individual plan, annual

$20.94 less on average individual plan, monthl

The preliminary report adds to the growing body of evidence that states which take advantage of federal health care reform are lowering premiums for their residents. States are now the laboratories of health reform, and states that employ all tools in the Affordable Care Act to control cost like Minnesota will see both a competitive advantage and a more efficient health sector.



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