The following is a message from Covering Wisconsin.
Just over a week ago, the federal government announced an unexpected and substantial cut in funding for Affordable Care Act outreach and enrollment, reducing total Navigator funding nationwide by over 40%, and reducing overall outreach and advertising for ACA enrollment by 90%.
This directly affects Covering Wisconsin and those we serve.
For health insurance enrollment assistance, Covering Wisconsin is the state’s largest federally-designated and state-licensed Navigator agency, with offices in Madison and Milwaukee and six subcontracted partner agencies serving 23 counties. Our staff and partners have been successful in educating residents about and connecting them to coverage options, including the ACA Marketplace and Medicaid/BadgerCare.
The federal funding for Navigator services expired on September 1 and CMS has not yet released awards for the current year. Despite funder assurances for continuation of our three year grant, we now do not know when funding will be made available or the extent of support that will be provided.
This presents a significant challenge for Covering Wisconsin's Navigator effort. It could result in loss of trained, experienced staff available to serve our communities. We are working now to identify alternative resources. We know how important it is to prepare for and support Wisconsin residents for the fast-approaching Open Enrollment period, which begins November 1.
As we await further information, we wanted to make our community aware of this sudden change and the challenge it presents for Covering Wisconsin, other Navigator entities, and the residents we serve. We also want to reiterate our commitment to the partnerships we have developedand to fulfilling our shared goals.
As we continue talk to local, state, and national leaders about this challenge, we intend to represent the interests of the many partners and communities that have invested their trust in us. Please feel free to contact us with any questions and we will provide updates as we receive them.