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. 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 2016. It revealed that:

  • From 2003 through 2015, 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 20 percent from 2003 through 2015 – approximately 1.5 percent annually. This compares with increases in the Hospital Producer Price Index (PPI) and the CMS Hospital Market Basket of 40 and 57 percent, respectively, from 2003 through 2015.

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:

To gain a national perspective on the health care costs trends, several links are provided below to studies and surveys conducted. These include: