Understanding the Affordable Care Act

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Todd Mishler | September 29, 2013

ELKHORN -- A few dozen hearty souls across Walworth and Rock counties have undertaken the Herculean task of educating tens of thousands of residents about the monolithic maze known as the Affordable Care Act.

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A first step in that process involves the state's health insurance marketplace, called an exchange by some, which allows people, mostly those who are uninsured or underinsured, to apply for coverage and compare plans and prices -- MercyCare and Dean Health Plan are among the companies that plan to sell insurance through the exchange.

The initial open enrollment period runs from Oct. 1 through March 31, 2014. However, people must sign up for and pay the first premium by Dec. 15 for the insurance coverage to kick in Jan. 1. That's when most Americans must have health insurance, either on the open market, through a state marketplace or from an employer.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services statistics show that the assumed marketplace enrollment in Gov. Scott Walker's budget will be an estimated 11,243 in Walworth County from Jan. 1, 2014, through June 2015, including 1,888 transitioning adults -- those moving from BadgerCare Plus to the exchange. Those numbers in Rock County are 21,506 and 3,181, respectively.

So, the first and biggest task for state health officials has been figuring out how to reach their target populations.

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