The implementation of the Affordable Care Act means many Wisconsinites will be signing up for insurance on the newly established marketplaces.
Of course, the mounting problems with the federally-run online exchange at Healthcare.gov are making it especially challenging for people to sign up.
“We’ve heard from the federal government that they’re doing everything they can to get the website up and running,” said Claire Smith, spokesperson for the Department of Health Services (DHS).
Smith said that despite the many problems at Healthcare.gov, there are several different ways for people to sign up.
“We’re trying to get as many people connected to that health care coverage so they don’t have a gap and can have coverage that begins on Jan. 1,” she said. “The online enrollment isn’t the only isn’t the only way people can enroll. People can go through paper applications and can also apply by phone. People can also connect with navigators as well as agents and brokers.”
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) estimated that around 700,000 Wisconsin residents are expected to sign up for coverage through the new federally-run marketplace. That number includes people who are shifting from BadgerCare Plus – where an estimated 92,000 will be cut from the current program – as well as people who are currently uninsured and those who may have some incentive to explore the option of signing up for insurance on the new marketplace.
In Milwaukee County, DHS estimates that more than 60,000 people will have coverage through the marketplace on Jan. 1, which includes more than 17,000 people who will be coming to the marketplace from BadgerCare.
DHS estimates say that more than 168,000 in Milwaukee County will sign up through the marketplaces by the end of June, 2015, more than any other county in the state by a very wide margin. The next most, Dane County, is estimated to have 34,629 people on marketplace coverage, followed by Brown County with 26,892, Racine County with 24,445, Rock County with 21,506, and Kenosha County with 21,108.
Full estimates can be found on the DHS website, under ‘Wisconsin Health Care Options in 2014,’ or by clicking here.
DHS was not able to provide any data on how many Wisconsinites have enrolled in the new marketplaces, due to the fact that the state has a federally-run marketplace. The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance did not return calls requesting enrollment data.