Wisconsin’s Medicaid Program Sees Budget Improvements

MacIver News Service | April 3, 2014

by Haley Sinklair

[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin’s Medicaid program has persistently gone over budget since the start of the program. However, a report released by the Department of Health Services (DHS) to the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) on Tuesday shows an improvement.

The projection for Medicaid program expenditures has improved by $72.3 million in general purpose revenue (GPR) since December’s report.

Reasons for the budget improvement include: smaller increases in enrollment costs per enrollee, additional federal claiming for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), cost settlements for federally qualified health centers, lower caseloads, lower than projected HMO payments, and diminished expenditure trends for various services.

In years past, enrollment numbers and budget gaps were out of control, leading JFC to unanimously vote for the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) to conduct audits of the state’s Medicaid program quarterly since 2011.

In 1998, one in thirteen residents received medical assistance. By 2009, one in five residents received assistance. In 2011, DHS faced a $500 million budget gap, the largest deficit of any state program.

As DHS works to implement Governor Walker’s entitlement reforms included in the 2013-15 state budget, it will be closely monitoring BadgerCare Plus enrollment to help transition members to the Obamacare exchange.

To view the full report from the DHS, click here.