Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee’

Milwaukee Area Health Care Costs Remain Higher than Midwest Average

November 5, 2009

According to a study released on Tuesday, healthcare costs in southeastern Wisconsin are declining greatly.  While they are still above the Midwest average, the most recent study commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health Inc., shows a great improvement.  In 2003, the area’s costs were 39% above the Midwest average and in 2000 they were 55% higher.  Currently, they are only 9% above the Midwest average. health_costs

“This is a vast improvement,” said Ron Dix, the foundation’s executive director.

Gains in efficiency of the region’s health care systems played a huge contributing factor to the improvement. 

Bruce Kruger, executive vice president of the Medical Society of Milwaukee County, says “What’s occurring in Milwaukee is physicians and hospitals are doing a better job of all working under one payment system and offering more integrated care”. 

“As well, members have been given more financial responsibility while employers generally have made their plans ‘less rich’”, says Dianne Kiehl, executive director of the Business Health Care Group, an employer coalition created to help bring health care costs in southeastern Wisconsin in line with other cities in the Midwest.   

While changes are trying to be made, payments to physicians are still 24% higher than the Midwest average. 

There are currently larger physician practices in Milwaukee compared to other areas of the Midwest, says Kiehl.  Compared to if there were many smaller practices, larger physician practices make it more difficult to negotiate rates.    

The Wisconsin Health Information Data Mart has information provided by all the large health plan administrators that will help drill down into where the highest costs are. 

The Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health is planning to commission another similar study to analyze 2009 health care costs.  It hopes to make the results available by early 2011, Dix said.   

To read the full article visit http://www.jsonline.com/business/68879872.html 

Questions: Have you experienced high health care costs in the Milwaukee area?  Do you think the employers should continue to make their plans “less rich”?

About the Author: Joan Speelich is a Staff Writer with the Clear Medical Solutions Communication Team.  Her work is regularly shared on the Clear Medical Agency newsletter and the ClearNursingMatters.com blog. 

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