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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2013

CONTACT: Claire Smith, (608) 266-1683

NO HEALTH CARE COVERAGE GAP IN WISCONSIN

All Wisconsin Residents Will Have Access to Affordable Health Care Beginning January 1, 2014

MADISON—A recent study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Wisconsin is the only state out of the 26 states not expanding their Medicaid programs as part of the Affordable Care Act that will not have a gap in health care coverage.

“Kaiser’s study reinforces the bold Wisconsin-specific solution Governor Walker made when he reformed Medicaid,” said Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades. “For the first time in Wisconsin’s history, all adults living in poverty will have access to the same level of benefits through Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. These reforms ensure long-term sustainability and predictability for a program that serves those who are most in need in our state as well as protect Wisconsin taxpayers from the unpredictability of federal funding.”

Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs, including BadgerCare Plus, were created to be an essential safety net for low-income individuals and families who lost or could not afford employer-sponsored health insurance. The broad eligibility criteria and comprehensive benefits offered by the programs have allowed Wisconsin to maintain one of the highest rates of health insurance coverage in the country.

With new private health care options now available to Wisconsin residents through the Marketplace, Governor Walker’s entitlement reform plan re-focused Medicaid on the population that it was created for – people in poverty. The goal is for individuals to be able to purchase a plan of their own choosing in the private market that provides health care where and when they need it. These reforms are based on what will provide the best outcome for Wisconsin citizens – independence and choice – and not on obtaining short-term financial assistance for the state.

The Governor’s Entitlement Reform plan:

  • Reduces the number of uninsured adults by an estimated 224,580, cutting the uninsured rate nearly in half.
  • Maintains current coverage levels for seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant women, as well as children whose family income is up to 300% of the federal poverty level.
  • Provides more than 82,000 childless adults living in poverty who previously did not have coverage with access to Medicaid's safety-net coverage.
  • Covers all eligible adults living in poverty, and provides those with incomes above 100% of the federal poverty level access to private coverage through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Provides comprehensive health care coverage, including mental health benefits and preventive dental services, to all BadgerCare Plus members through the BadgerCare Plus Standard Plan.

To view the Kaiser Family Foundation report – The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States that Do Not Expand Medicaid, visit: http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/the-coverage-gap-uninsured-poor-adults-in-states-that-do-not-expand-medicaid.

For additional information about Governor Walker’s entitlement reform plan, visit: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/aboutdhs/initiatives/budget/initiatives/er/index.htm.

For information about Wisconsin Health Care Options in 2014, visit: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health-care/index.htm.

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Last Revised:  October 21, 2013