On Friday, April 13, ABC for Health submitted comment to Deputy Insurance Commissioner JP Wieske on the State's Draft 1332 Waiver Request to create a State Reinsurance Program. With the draft waiver, Governor Scott Walker changes course and pivots toward the ACA and the reinsurance concept. The plan, approved by the legislature, includes a request for federal and state funding for a state operated reinsurance program that would partially reimburse individual health insurance plans for claims paid on behalf of their highest cost enrollees.
While ABC for Health generally recognizes reinsurance programs as a useful tool, especially in risky insurance markets, Wisconsin's proposed waiver request generates three major concerns: 1. Lack of sufficient consumer protections; 2. Troubling funding mechanisms; and 3. Insufficient impact in the context of recent state and federal policy.
ABC writes, "Under the right circumstances, reinsurance is an effective tool to help stabilize risk and jittery insurance marketplaces. The Wisconsin approach, however, could be drastically improved to better serve the insurance consumers of our state."