Paper applications are headed to the people Wisconsin is dropping from BadgerCare, to help them sign up for the new federal exchange.
Technical problems have plagued the new online system for purchasing private health insurance, while the sign-up deadline for 77,000 people here is approaching. Wisconsin will drop them from its health program on January first. The deadline for enrolling in a private plan - so it begins in January, is Dec. 15.
County leaders and health care advocates have been calling on Gov. Walker's administration to take action as the deadlines near. Late last week, several groups sent the administration a letter, expressing concern. Now the Dept. of Health Services is sending a reminder to those likely to be affected, along with a paper ballot to apply for private coverage.
Gov. Walker has decided to extend BadgerCare coverage to all adults living at or below the federal poverty level but to reject federal funding to cover those earning up to 138% of poverty. The state will also drop children from households with incomes exceeding 300% of poverty. The state is referring all those people to the exchange. Walker said he feared covering them would place too great a burden on the state, if the federal government reduces funding.
Federal health officials say the exchange site should be running efficiently by the end of November.