State sends out notifications about insurance changes

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration sent letters to an estimated 92,000 Wisconsinites today, notifying them that they no longer will be eligible for health care insurance coverage through the state’s BadgerCare Plus program.

Instead, the recipients of the letter will be encouraged to enroll in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the “Exchange,” beginning Oct. 1.

“Due to changes in state law, adult members with household income about 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and children with household income above 300 percent (of) the FPL will no longer be eligible for Badger Care Plus. These changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. You have received this letter because you or someone in your household may be above these limits. If anyone in your household is affected by the change in income limits and you are still enrolled in BadgerCare plus, you will get another letter in December letting you know exactly who is affected and how their eligibility will change,” the letter stated.

To view the full letter, click here.

BadgerCare had been formed as a program to provide coverage to the working poor whose employers did not provide insurance. However, Walker’s decision to reject an expansion of federal Medicaid dollars through the Affordable Care Act means many of those in the BadgerCare program will no longer qualify for BadgerCare and will instead be referred to the Exchange. Walker also decided that the state will not administer the Exchange for its residents, deferring the administration of the program to the federal government.

Today, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent a letter to Walker, admonishing his rejection of federal funding.

“Governors from both parties in Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota are supporting the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. All of these states are also working with the federal government to help establish a Health Insurance Marketplace. Rather than share this commonsense Midwestern approach, you chose not to take our state down the strongest path forward…I am disappointed that you have broken with our state’s strong tradition of advancing health care reforms. First, you chose not to build a Wisconsin-made, state-based Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and small businesses. Instead, you asked the federal government to do it. That Marketplace will start open enrollment in the coming week on October 1, 2013, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014,” Baldwin wrote. “Second, our state could have seized the opportunity to strengthen our BadgerCare program through a federal partnership. Instead, you chose a path that covers fewer people at a higher cost to taxpayers. When compared with expanding BadgerCare under the ACA, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that your plan will cost state taxpayers $119 million more over the next two years to cover 85,000 fewer people.”

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