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Milwaukee County may ask public workers to enter the insurance exchange

As many state and local governments are looking for ways to reduce their employee insurance benefits costs, Milwaukee County has proposed to end health coverage and is asking thousands of public workers to use the health insurance exchange instead.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the county would save at least $10 million next year by cutting coverage for up to all of its 4,400 workers. The proposal is part of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s 2014 budget that still needs to be approved by the county board. However, the source noted the estimated savings are based on hypothetical figures for the next year, not on the actual prices of the health plans currently being offered through the federal health insurance exchange.

The reason for the change is the existence of the health insurance marketplace, and David Riemer, senior fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and the one who provided Abele with the idea, said no government agency hasn’t tried cutting benefits in favor of the exchanges yet.

“If it’s an awful lot of money, you’re almost nuts not to take it,” Riemer told the Journal Sentinel. “It may be a great idea; it may be a terrible idea.”

Wisconsin’s exchange is being ran by the federal government, according to The Associated Press, which as seen issues recently with enrollment. 

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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