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State's Medicaid Picture Improves

Comments | Posted in News | By Sean Lansing | Posted January 4, 2013 9:30 AM

MacIver News Service | January 4, 2013

[Madison, Wisc...] At the end of December, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Dennis Smith announced in a letter to the legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) that the state's Medicaid budget is improving.

In the last quarterly update--provided in September--Smith told the JFC that Wisconsin's Medicaid budget shortfall was approximately $35.5 million.

Now Smith says, projections are showing the budget in balance for the 2011-13 biennium--provided current trends continue.

In addition to an improvement in the Medicaid budget's finances, Wisconsin's medical assistance program is also doing a better job of curtailing abuse.

Starting July 1st, non-disabled and non-pregnant adults enrolled in BadgerCare were subject to small premium contributions in exchange for receiving their government-subsidized health care.

A grace period was instituted for payment, and DHS took steps to monitor who was paying and who wasn't. 23 percent of individuals subject to the premium--who totaled 11,162 BadgerCare enrollees--were unenrolled after failing to pay and exhausting their grace periods.

Secretary Smith's letter also noted that the fiscal condition of Wisconsin's Medicaid Program is "significantly better" than it was during the final six months of the 2009-11 biennium.

To read Secretary Smith's letter to the JFC, click here.