One of the primary reasons for the formation of the Business Health Care Group (BHCG) was a realization by the CEOs of some of the area’s largest employers that health care costs in southeast Wisconsin were significantly higher than in other Midwest cities. In 2003, the year BHCG was founded, a study sponsored by the Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health (GMBFH) found that health care costs in southeast Wisconsin were 39 percent above the Midwest average. It was clear this disparity in health care costs could not continue if southeast Wisconsin’s economy was to remain viable and prosper. More recently a much different picture emerged. Health care costs in southeast Wisconsin were approximately seven percent above the Midwest average in 2011.
Leveraging our purchasing power and the collective experience and knowledge of leading employers and strategic partners, we have made remarkable progress in slowing health care cost trend for member employers. Cost results for 2017 are 6% below 2015 levels and 2% below 2014.
The average annual trend increase over the past 12 years for all self-funded groups has averaged 1.7 percent annually. These increases compare to cost increases in eastern Wisconsin of between five and 10 percent annually for the same time period.
During BHCG's existence considerable progress has been realized in making southeast Wisconsin a more cost competitive health care marketplace. However, much work remains if southeast Wisconsin is to sustain this progress.