MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- There will be multiple options across Wisconsin for purchasing insurance through the new marketplaces, or exchanges, required under the federal health care overhaul, an analysis released Thursday concluded.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin determined that every part of the state is covered by at least two insurance companies, at least three companies will be selling plans in nearly 99 percent of the state, and more than 68 percent of the state will be covered by at least four companies.
Under the federal law, each insurance provider selling through the exchange must offer at least two levels of coverage. This means at least six different plans will be on offer nearly everywhere in Wisconsin, the Citizen Action report said.
Thirteen insurance companies have notified state regulators that they will be selling individual plans through the exchanges, where people can shop for insurance starting in October for plans that take effect in January.
But a spokesman for the Wisconsin insurance commissioner's office dismissed the report as speculative.
J.P.Wieske said exchange service areas have no relationship to insurance company service areas. He said the analysis also is based on old data and is not based on exchange filings.
"Anything you say about coverage or coverage maps is speculative," Wieske said.
Earlier this month the state insurance commissioner's office released the names of the companies that will be selling insurance through the exchanges, but it has not provided details about coverage or rates. Wieske said insurance companies have until Sept. 9 to sign an exchange service contract, and that information won't be released until after the deadline.
"We'll do it when we can," Wieske said, adding there is no date yet.
The most competition between plans will be in Madison and Fond du Lac, where six insurers will be offering plans, the report said. Five companies will be selling in Janesville, Appleton, Manitowoc and Green Bay. And four insurers will be selling in Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan, Eau Claire and Wausau.
In Wisconsin, about 92,000 people currently on Medicaid will be losing their coverage starting in January. Gov. Scott Walker, an opponent of the federal law, toughened Medicaid eligibility, forcing those people off of the state's BadgerCare plan and into the marketplace.
There is also an estimated 400,000 uninsured people in the state who may be shopping for coverage through the marketplace to avoid federal penalties.
The state Department of Health Services, along with dozens of other public and private local groups, is working on coming up with plans for enrolling those people starting in October.
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