Less than four months after launching a health insurance plan for low-income residents during one the worst recessions in decades, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is suspending enrollment in the program because demand was higher than expected.
Since launching the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan on June 15, state officials have received more than 500 applications per day from low-income adults. Program organizers say the plan can afford to cover about 54,000 people, but 60,000 applications have already been received, prompting a decision to place anyone who applies after Oct. 9 on a waiting list.
The program is open to adults who do not have dependent children living with them and who earn less than $21,660 for an individual or $29,139 for a couple. Participants cannot have had access to employer-subsidized insurance for at least 12 months prior.
A news release from Doyle said demand for the program showed a clear need for healthcare reform at the federal level, adding that BadgerCare and similar programs in other states “are merely bridges to get us to national health reform.” (Please see Sinking fast, this week's cover story in Modern Healthcare, to learn about the challenges facing Medicaid programs across the U.S.)