Wisconsin Health Exchange13 Plans Approved for Wisconsin Health Exchange

The Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance has approved 13 insurance companies to sell policies on the Wisconsin health exchange and nine companies to sell qualified health plan policies on the SHOP small business exchange. The plans have all complied with state regulations, but they must now be approved by the federal government, which is likely to happen sometime in September.

Some Areas of Wisconsin Will Have Fewer Choices

While some of the 13 companies will offer plans statewide, only three companies are planning to sell policies in southeastern Wisconsin. These companies are Compcare Health Services Insurance Corp., which is marketed under Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative and Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin Inc. All of the insurers, except for Anthem Blue Cross and Molina, are Wisconsin-based companies.

Two of the largest health insurance companies in the state, Humana, Inc. and United Healthcare, have elected not to participate in the Wisconsin health exchange. Several major insurers are choosing to delay their entry into state exchanges for a year to see how Obamacare is going to affect premium rates. They are worried that the new mandate requiring them to cover pre-existing conditions will make premiums too high.

Rates Not Released

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance did not release rates for the plans that will be sold on the Wisconsin health insurance marketplace; however, approximately 456,781 residents that are currently uninsured will either qualify for federal subsidies or Medicaid. The subsidies can be used to purchase individual policies through the Wisconsin health exchange. People who buy plans on the Wisconsin health insurance marketplace must not qualify for government programs and cannot have access to an affordable policy through their employer.

Medicaid Not Expanding, BadgerCare Plus Will be Alternative

Although the state of Wisconsin has chosen not to participate in the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act, the governor plans to extend coverage under the state’s award-winning Medicaid program called BadgerCare. Currently, it provides coverage for over 750,000 adults and their children.

The governor intends to allow all adults with incomes below 100 percent of the national poverty line to gain coverage under BadgerCare Plus. This will allow some childless adults that are currently waiting to get into the program gain health coverage. However, the extension will also eliminate coverage for those residents who make between 100 percent and 200 percent of the national poverty line, including both people with and without children.

About 82,000 childless adults will gain coverage under the BadgerCare expansion, but 89,000 individuals with children and 6,000 without will no longer qualify for the government program. Every resident whose incomes fall between 100 percent and 400 percent of the national poverty line will be eligible to purchase a qualified health plan through the Wisconsin health exchange, the majority of whom will qualify for federal subsidies to help with the costs of private insurance. The governor expects that 225,000 people in the state who are currently uninsured will gain coverage through either BadgerCare or the Wisconsin health exchange.

Some Experts Criticize Alternative Medicaid Option

Some people are concerned that the subsides received through the Wisconsin health exchange will not be enough to cover increased premiums, deductibles and copays that individuals who had BadgerCare but now must purchase private insurance could face. In addition, BadgerCare was designed to provide a simple system through which families could gain health coverage. If they are no longer eligible for the government program, they will have to learn how to navigate a more complex system that could frustrate them to the point where they decide not to get coverage at all.

Wisconsin health exchange will be a federally run marketplace, you can find out more information about federal exchanges here. More information on ObamaCare is also available here. ObamaCare small business related topics are discussed here.

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