State sends 77,000 health care applications in mail

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State sends 77,000 health care applications in mail

Thousands of people in Wisconsin will now get paper applications to enroll in health care exchanges.

That’s because those losing BadgerCare have a fast-approaching deadline to sign up for health care coverage, but the issues on the federal website are not making the process easy.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services still is not sure how many people in Wisconsin have been able to sign up in the exchanges, but in the meantime they’re telling the people who haven’t to try a non-technology option. They began Monday, sending some 77,000 people who are being shifted off of BadgerCare and into federal exchanges the paper application for health care coverage and a reminder that they’d need to sign up by a Dec. 15 deadline to continue having health care after the first of the year.

“All we’re trying to do is help them through that process bit by bit,” Kevin Moore with the DHS said. “That also provides additional time as we continue to get information and as the federal government tells us what the latest and greatest is on the exchange.”

Beth Welch is being shifted off BadgerCare and came to the Dane County Job Center to fill out a paper application Monday. She said she’s concerned about being able to sign up by the December deadline.

“I mean, there’s so many people. I’m concerned there could be a break in coverage for us,” Welch said.

Welch said she’s had numerous issues with the website, and so far hasn’t been able to even successfully create an account.

DHS staff said they are sending the application in hopes the website is running by the end of the month. Welch is concerned whether things will get done in time.

“I just think the deadline isn’t realistic,” Welch said. “I’m sure they’ll fix (the website) but then they need to extend the deadline.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, sent a letter Monday to the governor asking him to extend BadgerCare until the end of March, which is the deadline to enroll in the marketplace.

DHS said they are continually evaluating the situation, but that the move of thousands of childless adults onto BadgerCare is made possible only by the shift of these 77,000 people into the marketplace.