Press Release: October 7, 2016, Open Enrollment: Important Deadlines and Changes/OCI Completes Premium Rate Reviews

Last Updated: October 11, 2016

Date: October 7, 2016
For more information contact: Elizabeth Hizmi, Public Information Officer, (608) 267-9460 or

Open Enrollment: Important Deadlines and Changes/
OCI Completes Premium Rate Reviews

Madison, WI—The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has completed its reviews of rates and forms filed by insurers requesting to participate in the federally facilitated exchange. After completion of the reviews, the average rate increase is 15.88 percent for individual Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant health insurance plans in Wisconsin.

"After our review of rates, consumers in Wisconsin will be facing an average 15.88 percent increase, but that is just an average," stated Commissioner Ted Nickel. "Consumers in some areas may see increases as high as 30.37 percent. While increases for Wisconsinites are lower than many other states, these rate changes and the recent exiting of numerous national carriers make it even more important for individuals to actively explore their health insurance options to ensure appropriate coverage."

In order to be eligible for the federally facilitated exchange, insurers must meet all state standards and file their rates and forms with the state of Wisconsin. Insurers began filing insurance policies with the state in June. Wisconsin reviewed the rate and form filings to ensure the policies are in compliance with all laws and regulations.

Auto Re-enrollment
In cases where a consumer's current health insurer is exiting the market and the policy was purchased through the federal exchange, the federal government will assign the consumer to a new health insurer if the consumer doesn't purchase coverage through the exchange. This process is called "auto re-enrollment." In order to ensure enrollment, the consumer's personal information—including financial information—will have to be sent from one insurer to the other insurer without the consumer's consent.

"We continue to believe the ACA's new auto re-enrollment ignores centuries of contract law, is a violation of numerous Wisconsin consumer protection laws, and, most importantly, is harmful to Wisconsin consumers," said Commissioner Nickel. "Despite our concerns, the federal government is still moving forward with auto re-enrollment. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has now provided an opportunity for consumers to opt-out. We strongly encourage consumers to protect their privacy by taking advantage of this option."

How to Opt-Out of Auto Re-enrollment
To prevent automatic enrollment for 2017 without enrolling in a new plan, log into your account between November 1 and December 15, 2016, and select your 2016 application—NOT your 2017 application. On the "My Coverage" page of your 2016 application, you will see a box near the bottom that explains how to prevent automatic enrollment for 2017. More information is available at the following Web site:

Open Enrollment
The ACA requires insurers to offer coverage on a guaranteed issue basis to all eligible consumers during an annual open enrollment period. Open enrollment allows individuals to re-enroll in their existing health insurance plans or to shop for a new plan. Consumers are encouraged to shop for insurance. If you receive a subsidy through the federal exchange, it is important to understand how the subsidy will impact the cost of your plan. Consumers shopping for health insurance should consider off-exchange carriers as well. This year, open enrollment runs from November 1, 2016, until January 31, 2017. Consumers seeking individual coverage should sign up before January 31 or risk being locked out of the individual insurance market until 2018. Of course, consumers facing a loss of their group coverage or other special situations may be eligible for special enrollment periods.

Interactive Coverage Map
In the coming weeks, OCI will be providing access to an interactive map that will show you all the carriers available in your county and a link to the company Web site so you can explore plan options.

OCI Outreach Events
OCI will also be coordinating outreach efforts on important updates and changes regarding open enrollment in the following Wisconsin locations: Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Tomahawk and Wausau. Further details on the events will be released in the near future.

Created by the Legislature in 1870, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.