History/Organizational Structure

The Business Health Care Group grew out of the frustration felt by several CEOs of large Milwaukee-based employers concerning health care costs in southeast Wisconsin as compared to their other locations, particularly other areas in the Midwest.

A study commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health found that in 2003, health care costs in southeast Wisconsin were 39 percent above the Midwest average. The CEOs realized that something needed to be done if our area was going to maintain jobs in our market.

The CEOs also understood that no one employer was large enough to influence the health care market. It would take a number of large employers, speaking with one voice, walking in unison with a common strategy, to impact the costs of health care in southeast Wisconsin. Ultimately, 11 corporations with headquarters in southeast Wisconsin and two other existing coalitions founded BHCG as a member-owned Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) in 2003 to explore alternatives to contain health care costs in the region. They soon established a goal to get costs at or below the Midwest average within five years.

In January of 2005, BHCG selected Humana to be the sole administrator of its health plan offering. In this capacity, Humana was charged with developing a provider network (Humana Preferred) available to employers on January 1, 2006.

In 2013 a rigorous strategic planning process was begun to maintain our successful track record of driving meaningful change in our health care market. The process culminated in our decision to partner with UnitedHealthcare effective January 1, 2016, to offer an innovative plan offering (using UnitedHealthcare's broad network) that best reflects BHCG's balanced approach strategy of strengthening consumer and provider accountability.

Today our service area includes 22 counties in eastern Wisconsin: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jefferson, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago. Presently, employers and employer groups of all sizes representing more than 200,000 lives participate in BHCG.

Philosophy – Accountability, Network Strategy, Education

Several core principles serve us well in advancing our mission:

We push for accountability from all stakeholders including health care consumers, health care providers, employers and our health plan administrator, UnitedHealthcare.

  • Consumers need to be held accountable for becoming more engaged in their own health and to use information to make informed buying decisions.
  • Health care providers need to be held accountable for outcomes, efficiency and to reduce variation in care, thereby mitigating cost trend.
  • Employers need to design health plans, offer wellness programs and provide consumer education based on best practices.
  • The administrator needs to meet the needs of the local markets, have the ability to support engaged employees, assist in removing barriers to reforming the market and perform their core activities efficiently and effectively.

Our network strategy positions quality first and rewards those providers delivering the best value -- a combination of quality and total cost of care.

  • We feature a broad provider network, offered through UnitedHealthcare.
  • Physicians are assessed on nationally accepted quality metrics and local market-based total cost of care metrics.
  • Consumers are provided with easy to use tools to understand the cost and quality performance of physicians and places of service.

Education of both employers and their employees is a basic principle of our strategy. Employees must be motivated through plan design and education to become better consumers of health care.

  • We develop tools for member employers to help make their employees better purchasers of the health care they consume. BHCG developed consumer videos focused on key consumer accountabilities that are available to our members.
  • We provide educational forums and support projects that promote best practices for employers to utilize in managing their health care dollars and benefit programs effectively.
  • We promote the use of consumer engagement tools that encourage the use of high quality, cost efficient physicians and places of service.

Access a current listing of BHCG member employers.