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 the 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. Further demonstrating the progress that has been made in slowing the increase in health costs in southeast Wisconsin was a study sponsored by GMBFH in 2015. It revealed that:
- From 2003 through 2014, the increase in average southeast Wisconsin hospital commercial payment levels was less than 50 percent of the rate of increase in the national Hospital Component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- The average southeast Wisconsin hospital per-unit operating costs increased 18 percent from 2003 through 2014 – approximately 1.5 percent annually. This compares with increases in the Hospital Producer Price Index (PPI) and the CMS Hospital Market Basket of 39 and 52 percent, respectively, from 2003 through 2014.
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.
Below are links to several regional and national studies examining health care costs.
GMBFH cost studies:
- 2016 Study: Key Factors Influencing 2003-2015 Southeast Wisconsin Commercial Payer Payment Levels
- 2015 Study: Key Factors Influencing 2003-2014 Southeast Wisconsin Commercial Payer Payment Levels
- 2015 Study: Utilization Comparison of Southeast Wisconsin Health Systems
- 2014 Study: Commercial Physician Payment Levels Comparison: Southeast Wisconsin Versus Selected Midwest Markets
- 2014 Study: Key Factors Influencing 2003-2012 Southeast Wisconsin Commercial Payer Hospital Payment Levels
- 2012 Study: Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health, Study of 2011 Southeast Wisconsin Community Healthcare Premium Costs
- 2012 Study: Key Factors Influencing 2003-2011 Southeast Wisconsin Commercial Payer Hospital Payment Levels
- 2011 Study: Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health, Study of 2010 Southeast Wisconsin Community Healthcare Premium Costs
- 2011 Study: Key Factors Influencing 2003-2010 Southeast Wisconsin Commercial Payer Payment Levels
HCTrends, a Milwaukee area based firm, conducts numerous employer health care benefit surveys annually. Below are links to their most recent surveys:
- HCTrends 2014 Annual Employer Health Care Benefits Survey
- HCTrends 2013 Annual Employer Health Care Benefits Survey
- HCTrends Greater Milwaukee 2013 Renewal Projections
To gain a national perspective on the health care costs trends, several links are provided below to studies and surveys conducted. These include:
- The Kaiser Family Foundation 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey
- 2014 Towers Watson Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care
- The Kaiser Family Foundation: Employer Health Benefits 2013 Annual Survey - Summary of Findings
- Mercer Health & Benefits 2013 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans