MMAC: Partners With WPS to Provide Patient Choice Plan as New Member Benefit

For more information, contact
Tim Sheehy, MMAC President @ (414) 287-4125 or
Kris Naidl, Zeppos & Associates @ (414) 276-6237

Innovative, consumer-driven plan addresses
business concerns, escalating health care costs

MILWAUKEE – The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) and WPS Health Insurance announced a partnership agreement to provide Patient Choice — a consumer-driven health care plan — as a member benefit available for purchase.

“MMAC members have identified escalating health care costs as their number one concern. The Patient Choice Network helps address this need among our members and in the metro Milwaukee market, where costs have historically outpaced the national average,” said Tim Sheehy, MMAC president. “Patient Choice aligns with recommendations outlined in the Blueprint for Economic Prosperity — our regional economic growth agenda developed by members.”

The Blueprint calls for employers to change the way they purchase health care; for employees to accept some financial accountability; and for providers to make quality and cost information more accessible.

“We believe Patient Choice delivers on these counts,” added Sheehy.
The plan will be marketed to MMAC members and prospective members. Currently, the MMAC has more than 2,000 member businesses that employ approximately 200,000 people in the metro area. More information about the MMAC is available at .

Patient Choice is a consumer-driven provider network introduced to metro Milwaukee by WPS in April. The network is specifically designed to create competition among health care providers using data that ranks their quality, efficiency, and total costs of Care Systems. Employees then compare Care Systems and choose the one they want as part of their health insurance plan. By fostering such competition among local health care providers, Patient Choice aims to control costs while maximizing quality of care.

The Patient Choice provider network in metro Milwaukee includes Advanced Healthcare, Children’s Hospital and Health System, Columbia-St. Mary’s Physicians Network, Medical Associates Health Centers, Quad-Med, Covenant Provider Network and Waukesha Integrated Delivery System. In addition, Froedtert Health and Medical College of Wisconsin are available on a market-wide basis. Most other providers are available through the WPS PPO Statewide network.

“The MMAC’s Blueprint for Economic Prosperity is very clear in its vision for healthcare. That’s why partnering with the MMAC to help Southeastern Wisconsin businesses get control of health care costs was very natural,” said Bill Bathke, executive vice president and chief operating officer of WPS Health Insurance. “Creating competition among providers for patients is at the heart of Patient Choice. Businesses and employees win because costs are going to come down and quality is going to go up. Providers have incentives to invest in quality and efficiency and they win by attracting more patients.”

According to Bathke, the Milwaukee area’s Patient Choice network is modeled after a similar network that has been offered in Minneapolis since 1997 and produced significant savings for participants. That plan has resulted in lower trends in health care cost increases compared to market alternatives. Also, a 2003 cost analysis showed that businesses utilizing the Minneapolis Patient Choice network saved approximately $200 per employee in health care claims that year.

“We have had strong support from the provider and business communities, and we expect the same cost savings results in the metro Milwaukee area,” said Bathke. He added that Patient Choice is simple to implement and understand, and it can be combined with virtually any benefit design and/or funding account.

WPS, the exclusive administrator of Patient Choice in Southeast Wisconsin, is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-based health insurer that was founded by members of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin nearly 60 years ago to help state residents who lacked proper medical insurance. More information on WPS and Patient Choice is at

MMAC is the region’s leading business organization, representing more than 2,000 area companies in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties.