Today Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm and Covering Wisconsin announced a new partnership to get more Wisconsinites enrolled in health insurance during this year’s open enrollment period. DHS awarded Covering Wisconsin nearly $500,000 to fund additional health insurance Navigator positions throughout the state to help more Wisconsin residents get covered.

“Every Wisconsinite deserves access to affordable, quality health care and it’s time to work together to get folks covered,” said Governor Evers. “This new partnership will allow us to help Wisconsin residents get connected to quality, affordable health coverage through or Medicaid.”

Health insurance Navigators provide free in-person help to enroll people in health insurance and educate residents on how to use their coverage. The DHS funding will create the equivalent of seven full-time positions, expanding navigator services across the state.

“We must ensure Wisconsinites understand their health care options, what they might be eligible for, and most importantly where they can go to get help with enrolling,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Our goal is to make the process more accessible for our residents. We know that local, in-person help is the best support someone can receive. That’s why I’m thrilled to be working with Covering Wisconsin during this year’s open enrollment period.”

For the first time since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, DHS will be working proactively to help sign up Wisconsin residents who do not have health insurance. In addition to funding more health insurance Navigators, DHS will be launching an awareness campaign targeting uninsured Wisconsinites throughout the state. This work is part of the DHS and Office of the Commissioner of Insurance Health Care Coverage Partnership that Governor Evers announced earlier this summer.

According to the Wisconsin 2018 Family Health Survey:

  • An estimated 7% of Wisconsin residents were without health insurance for part or all of the past year. This represents approximately 402,000 Wisconsinites.
  • 238,000 Wisconsin residents without health insurance were employed, either full-time or part-time.
  • 21% of Wisconsin residents without health insurance were African-American or Hispanic.
  • 55% of Wisconsin residents without health insurance are low-income (e.g. income of less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level). A parent with one child making $32,000 per year is an example of someone living at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

“We applaud Governor Evers Administration’s statewide effort to get more Wisconsinites insured,” said Allison Espeseth, Managing Director of Covering Wisconsin. “Increasing the number of health insurance navigators is critical to this work and we look forward to helping more Wisconsinites this year.”

Source: Department of Health Services news release 10/1/2019.