By working with a consumer-driven and competitive pricing approach to health care, I've been able to save taxpayers $2.8 million in health care costs for city employees. No one employer has enough people to impact the health market, and that realization resulted in the formation of the Business Health Care Group of Southeastern Wisconsin. A resolution I introduced that was passed by the Common Council directed the city to work with the private sector organization to "move the market" and attempt to save money in the public sector. We have been successful.
The Business Health Care Group of Southeastern Wisconsin (BHCGSW) said the resolution that I sponsored was the "spark" that led to the development of a closer working relationship with the city. And that relationship resulted in an HMO offering from Humana that will save the city and its taxpayers $2.8 million as compared to the bid from the current city health care insurer.
More importantly, said Diane Kiehle, executive director of the group, the City of Milwaukee will now be working with other area employers to continue to "move the market" as a member of BHCGSW.
Since 2000, the City of Milwaukee's cost for health care coverage for its employees has risen by an average of 9% per year, and I believe this working relationship with the group and direct approach provided by BHCGSW with area providers will bring substantial cost savings, while it also increases accountability and support to health care consumers by those who deliver health care services.