92,000 Wisconsites Formerly on BadgerCare Insurance May Be Uninsured Come January 1st
The Gov. Walker administration has informed about 92,000 poor or disabled Wisconsin residents that their BadgeCare health insurance has been terminated as of January 1, 2014,, the day the state expects those people to move to insurance coverage planned to be available at the federal marketplace exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act.
The letters also inform the Medicaid recipients they need to purchase health insurance through the new online exchange, or marketplace, by December 15. That is the federal deadline for obtaining ACA coverage by January 1st. Governor Scott Walker’s budget has striped BadgerCare Medicaid benefits from those who earn between 100 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Governor Walker then rejected $119 million of federal money over two years that would have paid to keep those earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level enrolled in Medicaid.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett asked Governor Scott Walker in a letter late last week to delay changes in the state’s BadgerCare program to ensure that the 92,000 persons who were informed that their health insurance coverage was being terminated will have a reasonable opportunity to enroll in an alternative health insurance plan by the December 15 deadline. Reason is that the highly publicized problems with the new federal marketplace have created widespread enrollment problems, potentially leaving thousands of people who had formerly been covered by BadgerCare completely uninsured come January 1.
“The simple solution to this problem is to postpone implementation of all BadgerCare changes until March 31, 2014,”, Mayor Barrett wrote to the Governor. “This is all about the well-being of tens-of-thousands of vulnerable Wisconsinites who are likely to lose their healthcare coverage while being unable to secure a federally approved marketplace policy in time.
Barrett says that because people would have to sign up by Dec. 15 to get the federal coverage by Jan. 1, and there have been problems enrolling in the federal program, the state cutoff of BadgerCare should be delayed three-months. to March 31. Walker denied his request, saying “we’re still going to believe the federal government, in the comments that they made, that it will be operational by the end of the month.”