Wisconsin's BadgerCare Plus Program Extended To Low-Income Childless Adults
Wisconsin last week received federal approval to expand its BadgerCare Plus program to provide basic health coverage for low-income childless adults who are not eligible for other state health programs, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The BadgerCare Plus program -- which previously was limited to children, families with children, and people with disabilities -- will be extended to include adults with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level, $20,800 a year for one person and $28,000 for a married couple.
The plans, which will be administered by private managed care companies, will not cover branded drugs, home health care, chiropractic services and some durable medical equipment. Residents who apply must complete a health assessment and receive a physical examination within one year of enrolling. According to the Journal Sentinel, the goal of the program is to provide primary care to prevent more costly specialty care or hospitalization in the future.
The program will cost the state about $40 million annually, with the rest of the funding coming from the federal government. Raising the funds "will not be easy given the bleak outlook for the state budget," the Journal Sentinel reports. As part of the agreement with the federal government, state spending on the program is capped at $154 million. Once fully funded, the state estimates the program could provide health coverage for 40,000 to 50,000 residents.
The expansion "marks the next step in Gov. Jim Doyle's (D) push to expand health insurance coverage" and "follows an ambitious effort to enroll eligible children in state health programs and make affordable health insurance available to every child" in Wisconsin, the Journal Sentinel reports (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/31).
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