09.02.14

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls for Special Enrollment Period for 38,000 Wisconsinites Dropped from BadgerCare Under Governor Walker’s Plan

In Letter to Obama Administration, Baldwin Asks for Special Enrollment Period to Close Coverage Gap Created By Walker Administration

Washington D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to immediately grant a special enrollment period in the federal Marketplace for the 38,000 Wisconsinites who lost their BadgerCare coverage under Governor Walker’s plan to reject a federal investment in Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program through the Affordable Care Act.

On July 16th, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a report showing that the Governor’s plan to terminate BadgerCare coverage for approximately 63,000 Wisconsinites has resulted in a gap in coverage. The Walker Administration report revealed that the Governor failed to transition almost 38,000 individuals to coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace, as promised. Health care policy experts project that many of these Wisconsinites formerly served under BadgerCare are now likely uninsured. 

Baldwin writes, “The severe consequences of Governor Walker’s plan make the urgency for action clear. I urge you to continue your efforts to help vulnerable Wisconsinites access the full benefits of the Affordable Care Act by immediately granting the 38,000 individuals terminated from BadgerCare coverage a special enrollment period to enroll in Marketplace coverage.”

The Walker Administration had contended that 90 percent of former BadgerCare recipients would successfully transition off BadgerCare to plans in the Affordable Care Act's Marketplace. However, this promise was not kept for 60 percent, almost 38,000 individuals, of those terminated from BadgerCare coverage by Walker. Without the chance to enroll during a special enrollment period, which CMS has the authority to grant, these individuals would have to wait until 2015 to receive federal Marketplace coverage.

“The fact that Governor Walker was unable to transition nearly 38,000 people to the federal marketplace is extremely troubling. It is my hope that Governor Walker will join my call to open a new enrollment period immediately so that these Wisconsinites can receive health insurance as soon as possible,” Baldwin said.

Two weeks ago, Baldwin urged Walker to immediately determine exactly how many of the 38,000 are uninsured, as well as develop a strategy to address this gap in coverage. Senator Baldwin also questioned the Governor’s insistence on pursuing his plan after the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released a report showing that the Governor has exposed Wisconsin taxpayers to higher costs because he has refused to accept a federal investment in the state’s BadgerCare program. The LFB report showed that Wisconsin would have saved $206 million over two years if the Walker administration had chosen to accept federal funding for a full expansion of BadgerCare. The state could have saved more than $500 million over 3 1/2 years, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates, and about 87,000 more adults a month would have been served under BadgerCare Plus.

An online version of the letter can be found here.