BadgerCare Reform Plan Eliminates Health Care Coverage Gap for 81,731 Wisconsinites

MacIver News Service | May 20, 2014

by Haley Sinklair

[Madison, Wisc…] A new report released on Monday by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows that 81,731 Wisconsinites living in poverty will be covered under Medicaid. Thanks to state entitlement reforms, these childless adults have access to health care while many other states are facing coverage gaps for individuals whose income sits above current Medicaid eligibility but below the limit for marketplace tax credits.

Twenty-four states opted not to expand Medicaid. However, Wisconsin is the only state with no health coverage gap that chose not to expand Medicaid. Florida, for example, has 763,890 poor uninsured nonelderly adults falling in the coverage gap category.

“Our entitlement reforms make sure Medicaid is a safety net for our state’s neediest citizens and protect Wisconsin’s taxpayers from the uncertainty surrounding the federal government’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement.

As part of the 2013-15 biennial budget, Walker implemented entitlement reforms to eliminate long wait lists and enrollment caps for those who made up to 100 percent of the federal poverty line. This allowed for those falling under that threshold to be covered under Medicaid. Wisconsinites above 100 percent of the poverty line that were previously enrolled in BadgerCare transitiond to the federal health insurance exchanges with access to subsidied, eliminating a coverage gap.

Wisconsin continues its outreach effort to help those that are transitioning from BadgerCare Plus to the federal exchange to make them aware of the application process, services provided, and deadlines for signing up.

“For the first time in our state, Wisconsin is providing health coverage for everyone living in poverty through Medicaid and allowing those above that level to access health insurance through the exchanges or private market,” said Governor Walker.

The MacIver News Service reached out to legislative leaders for comment but did not receive a response.