U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls On Governor Walker to Notify the Nearly 27,000 Wisconsinites He Dropped from BadgerCare of Special Enrollment Period for Health Care Coverage

Baldwin Called for Special Enrollment Period to Close Coverage Gap Created By Walker Administration

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today called on Governor Walker to notify the almost 27,000 Wisconsinites who he terminated from Badgercare coverage and who now face a coverage gap that they are eligible to enroll in the federal Marketplace during a special enrollment period. The Walker Administration is the only entity in the state with the full list of eligible individuals and the information to directly reach the nearly 27,000 Wisconsinites. At this time, the Walker Administration has not let these individuals know that they have another chance to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2014, though the special enrollment period began September 4th and closes November 2nd.

Baldwin writes, “Updated information released by your Administration shows that almost 27,000 Wisconsinites of the 63,000 your plan removed from BadgerCare have not yet obtained health coverage and are likely uninsured.  Local providers and enrollment assistors stand ready to help individuals enroll, but only the state has the capacity and information needed to reach these Wisconsinites directly.  Furthermore, these residents are some of the most vulnerable among us and we should all be doing what we can to ensure that as many of these people as possible sign up to receive health insurance.  Therefore, I urge you to keep your promise to guarantee that these individuals transition to the Marketplace by immediately contacting these residents directly and sharing information with providers to help them conduct targeted outreach to this population.”   

Earlier this month, Baldwin sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and asked Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to immediately grant a special enrollment period in the federal Marketplace for the Wisconsinites who lost their BadgerCare coverage because Walker chose to reject a federal investment in Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program through the Affordable Care Act. On September 4th, the Obama Administration answered this call and granted a special enrollment period in the federal Marketplace for the nearly 27,000 low income, working Wisconsinites whose BadgerCare coverage was terminated by Governor Walker.

Nearly two months ago, 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. Recent numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show that the Governor failed to transition almost 27,000 individuals to coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace.

Health care policy experts project that many of these Wisconsinites formerly served under BadgerCare are now likely uninsured.

“Governor Walker refused to accept a federal investment in our BadgerCare program, instead he decided to pursue a plan that terminates health care coverage for 63,000 Wisconsinites, creates a coverage gap, and exposes Wisconsin taxpayers to higher costs while covering fewer people,” Baldwin said, “He may not think that this is a problem but I do. That is why I worked to find a solution for the nearly 27,000 Wisconsinites facing a coverage gap. Enrollment has been open for three weeks yet the Walker Administration has not even notified the people he kicked off BadgerCare of this new opportunity for them to enroll in coverage. This special enrollment period is the Walker Administration’s second chance to deliver on their promise to the people they kicked off BadgerCare and work to provide these Wisconsinites with the health insurance they need and deserve.”

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 almost 27,000 individuals terminated from BadgerCare coverage by Walker. Without the chance to enroll during the special enrollment period, these individuals would have to wait until 2015 to receive federal Marketplace coverage.

Senator Baldwin has 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.

The special enrollment period for the individuals removed from BadgerCare began September 4th and runs for 60 days until November 2nd.

An online version of the letter can be found here