Citizen Action: Walker administration withholds health insurance rates

The Wisconsin Gazette

The Walker Administration — for the second consecutive year — is withholding the rates for the health insurance marketplace, according to Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

The group says the administration is leaving consumers, health advocates and policymakers in the dark and it called on the Wisconsin Office of the Insurance Commissioner to promptly release the figures. 

The deadline for 2015 rate submission for insurance companies selling marketplace plans in Wisconsin was June 27.

At that time, the OCI said it would need up to 60 days to analyze the rates.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin says two-thirds of states have released 2015 rates for healthcare.gov, in advance of the open enrollment period that begins on Nov. 15.

“Last year the Walker Administration tried to use the rate release process to spin the numbers and make misleading attacks on health care reform,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “We are growing concerned that the Walker Administration will either withhold the 2015 rates until after the election, or attempt to release them in a biased and partisan fashion. Consumers and health advocates have a right to know what the insurance rates will be, and how Wisconsin stacks up with other states.”

The Republican governor, who is running for re-election against Democrat Mary Burke in November and who may run for president in 2016, is a staunch opponent of federal Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration’s efforts to expand health care opportunities.

Earlier this year, Citizen Action of Wisconsin released a report showing that marketplace rates in Wisconsin are $251 per year higher on average because of Scott Walker’s decision to reject enhanced funding for Badgercare, and $747 higher on average because of the Walker administration’s refusal to implement what CAW described as a robust rate review.