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January 2009

Wisconsin Aims for Additional Coverage Expansion

Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin recently announced that the state has enrolled its first members in the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan for Childless Adults.  This new program provides access for childless adults to basic health care services, including primary and preventive care and generic drugs. The benefit plan for the program is less comprehensive than traditional Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus for Children and Families. The state received federal approval of their waiver application for further expansion of the program and to use Medicaid funds to finance it. The expansion of the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan is part of a multi-year effort by the Governor and state legislature to provide access to affordable health insurance to 98 percent of Wisconsin residents.

On January 1, 2009, more than 12,000 Wisconsin residents were moved from the General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP), a community-based safety-net program for Milwaukee residents, and other counties’ general relief programs to the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan.  Funds from the GAMP program were used to finance the insurance benefit for those who were previously eligible.

On January 14, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association unveiled a plan to increase the hospital assessment in order to fund increases in hospital payments through the Wisconsin Medicaid program and to fund coverage for estimated 41,000 childless adults in the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan. The assessment would bring in about $300 million in additional federal funds.