Keeping Milwaukeeans Covered
During the pandemic, more than 1,500,000 Wisconsinites had Medicaid coverage and were able to maintain their coverage due to the federally declared public health emergency (PHE). Under the PHE, special rules were put in place to allow more consumers to get and keep BadgerCare Plus and other Medicaid benefits. Medicaid enrollees were not required to renew their coverage nor were individuals removed from any Medicaid programs.
Anticipating the public health emergency will be ending in the coming months, and eligibility determination and re-enrollment policies will be re-instated, many coverage leaders across the state are working to prepare.
“This is a really challenging opportunity – particularly given the significant increases we’ve seen in Medicaid enrollment since March 2020,” said Justin Rivas, Director of Community Health for the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) and project manager of the Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN). “Communications and outreach planning is under way to ensure consumers have the support and information needed to stay covered, whether that is by renewing their Medicaid benefits or finding an affordable plan on the Marketplace.”
Individuals who are no longer eligible for Medicaid will likely be able to take advantage of a Marketplace Special Enrollment Period. The Marketplace currently offers unprecedented low-cost premiums due to COVID funding relief as well as more insurance plan choices. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), more individuals qualify for help to pay for health coverage; even those who weren’t eligible in the past. With the additional tax credits available, premiums can be as low as $10 a month – or less.
The impact of lower Marketplace prices is evident in the significant enrollment gains seen during the 2021-2022 Marketplace Open Enrollment period, in which Wisconsin experienced an 11% increase (212,209 residents) in Marketplace enrollment, as compared to last year. This comes after an incremental decline in Marketplace plan selection for the past four years.
Health systems, community health centers and city and county enrollment assisters – along with community-based organizations, agents, brokers and qualified health plans – are committed to working together through MKEN to assist individuals with understanding their health insurance options and enrolling in a plan that best fits their needs. The MKEN is committed to reducing the uninsured rate in our community, especially for low- income and marginalized populations.
DHS resources: COVID-19: Information for Health Programs and COVID-19: Emergency “Unwinding” Partner Toolkit.