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Unlike many other states in the country that saw rate increases above 25% (the national average), Wisconsin is one of the few that approved a hike way below this number. This, plus its consistently good performance in health rankings, helped many of its citizens obtain health insurance more affordable than people living in other places.

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How the state does in health rankings

There is no doubt that the health-based performance of the state contributed to this year’s lower-than-national-average rate increase. And if it continued to improve upon this sector, it would no doubt manage to control potential rate hikes even more.

WI, securing 11th place (out of 51) in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, performed best in the assessment’s “Prevention & Treatment” category. For this indicator, it scored a quintile of 1, the highest possible grade. It received a score of 2 for “Access,” “Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs,” and “Healthy Lives.” It performed below average for Equity though, only scoring a 3.

Here are some key takeaways from the state’s Healthy Lives scorecard:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 69 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 20.4 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 14.1 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 17%

  • Adult obesity: 31%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 29%

As for its performance under the Access indicator, here are some of the study’s findings:

  • 10% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 5% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 11% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 16% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

Nearly 95% of the population have insurance

A U.S. Department of Health & Human Services study showed that America’s Dairyland boasts of having nearly 95% of its population having insurance.

In the beginning of this five-year assessment (2010), the state had an uninsured rating of 9.4%. Upon the conclusion of the study, this count went down by 3.7%. This means that, from its then estimated population of 5,771,337 (2015, latest data1), 211,000 more people became insured.

A rate increase average nearly 10% lower than the national median

Although WI residents face higher rates this year, the hikes only average at 15.9%. This is 9.1% below the national median of 25%. Keep in mind that some other states had an increase of more than 25%, with some having to deal with as high as 50% and above.

To help you gauge how much your expenses might look like this year, take a look at these projections provided that the United States Department of Health & Human Services provided:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $476

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $138

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $304

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,099

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405

How the state can further reduce uninsured rating

Although the state already saw a dramatic improvement in its uninsured rating over the past several years, it can further reduce its number of residents who go without insurance. One way to achieve this is to perform even better in health rankings. As The Commonwealth Fund advises, boosting its performance to the level of Minnesota, the state that ranked 1st in its 2015 State Health System Ranking, will give 174,217 adults in the state the chance to become insured. Read Health Insurance: To A Better Quality of Life article to find out more.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/wisconsin/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/51/wisconsin/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/212721/2017MarketplaceLandscapeBrief.pdf

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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