Board approves adding deductibles to health plans

MADISON -- Wisconsin's insurance board voted Tuesday to add deductibles and increase out-of-pocket payments in state employees' health care plans in a move designed to save an estimated $85 million over the next two years.

The state Department of Employee Trust Fund's Group Insurance Board approved the measure on a 9-2 vote. The health care system covers about 240,000 state employees, families and dependents.

Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget calls for saving $81 million on health care coverage, but he didn't lay out how to get those savings. He asked the insurance board to work with New York-based Segal Consulting, and those consultants presented their recommendations to the board Tuesday.

The head of the state's largest employees union reacted angrily.

"What the group insurance board did today is unconscionable," Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin AFSCME, said. "I'd also call it evil that they're treating state employees at that level. It's incredible."

Shooting death an apparent homicide

OCONOMOWOC -- Investigators in Oconomowoc said the death of a 50-year-old man found shot in the basement of his home is apparently a homicide.

Police Chief David Beguhn said Stanley Van Wagner's wife found his body Sunday evening. He had been shot three times with a handgun.

Authorities believe Van Wagner was shot in another room of the home and his body moved to the basement.

Committee OKs more spending for prisons

MADISON -- The Legislature's budget committee has approved spending an additional $5 million above previous estimates to pay for housing inmates in the state prison system.

The committee's action Tuesday was needed because the prison population growth estimates in Gov. Scott Walker's budget released in February are already outdated for both the state's female and male prison populations.

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