WEA Trust to stop offering medical health insurance in Wisconsin, lay off 110 employees | Business News


Alexander Shur | Wisconsin State Journal

Madison-based WEA Trust, a medical health insurance company wounded by the passage of the 2011 Republican anti-union law Act 10, will stop offering medical health insurance at the tip of 2022.

The corporate will lay off 110 employees, it said in an announcement, and offer each worker a severance package and at the least 60 days notice. It’ll proceed offering long-term care, life and vision coverage for its members.

WEA Trust clients could have until the tip of 2022 to search out a latest insurer. Nearby employers insured by WEA Trust include the Columbus and Reedsburg school districts.

“The challenges related to healthcare consolidation, the prices related to the worldwide pandemic, and the drop within the stock market have made it difficult for local, not-for-profit organizations like ours who seek to offer families with high value personal care,” company president and CEO Vaughn Vance said in an announcement.

“It became clear that we needed to make the difficult decision to pivot as a company before we sacrificed what has made WEA Trust unique for a few years,” Vance continued.

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WEA Trust was created by the Wisconsin Education Association Council in 1970 to serve Wisconsin school district employees.

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The corporate insured the overwhelming majority of college districts before former Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 in 2011 blocked unions from negotiating over advantages, which led school districts to buy cheaper alternatives, leading to a stark revenue loss for the corporate. Conservatives heralded the change, saying it saved school districts tens of thousands and thousands of dollars across the state.

“For years taxpayers across the state were getting a raw deal,” Walker said in a 2012 press release. “Collective bargaining stymied competition for advantages within the medical health insurance market, and as a substitute directed property tax revenue to those affiliated with big government union bosses,” adding taxpayers were saving thousands and thousands with the changes he enacted.

WEA Trust has since expanded to cover state, county and municipal staff.

WEA Trust spokesperson Steve Lyons said Act 10 had nothing to do with the corporate’s decision to tug out of the medical health insurance market in Wisconsin.

“It’s a difficult decision by WEA Trust, nevertheless it’s also a difficult day for the state of Wisconsin,” Lyons said in an interview, adding the corporate’s staff live and work within the state.

“If you call WEA Trust, not only do they know methods to say Oconomowoc, they know where it’s on a map,” he said.

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