Janesville74.6°

Health care applications rise in Rock County

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 4, 2008
— The number of families applying for health care through the Rock County Job Center has increased since BadgerCare Plus kicked in Feb. 1.

Thatís a good thing for the children and families eligible for coverage, Economic Division Manager Cindy Sutton said. But it has forced her to shift staff at the center in order to absorb the impact of increased caseloads.


As of Feb. 1, Rock County was handling 13,069 cases, Sutton said. A case could be an individual or a family, and that number included medical, food share and W-2 benefits, Sutton said.


With the addition of BadgerCare Plus in March, the number jumped to 13,425, she said. Thatís about 418 cases per worker, she said.


BadgerCare Plus offers health insurance to all Wisconsin children, regardless of their parentsí income. The program also expands coverage for pregnant women, young adults leaving foster care and the self-employed.


Medical assistance for the elderly and disabled has not changed.


Lower income families will be able to enroll for BadgerCare Plus for free. Higher income families will be able to buy coverage starting at $10 per month.


The Rock County Human Services Board is watching the caseload carefully to make sure the economic support staff is able to handle it, Sutton said.


The transition to BadgerCare Plus from BadgerCare, Healthy Start and Medicaid has for the most part gone smoothly, Sutton said. Workers have had some problems with software and are reporting them to the state as they pop up, she said.


The software problems are state-wide, she said.


Sutton said the state is promoting applications through the Web site access.wisconsin.gov. Applicants need to keep in mind that the online application is not instant, Sutton said, and it could take 30 days for applicants to get notices of decision in the mail, she said.


Sometimes applicants have applied twice instead of waiting the 30 days, which further backs up the heavy workload, she said.


To enroll

Families have several options to enroll in BadgerCare Plus:


-- Go to www.badgercareplus.org or access.wisconsin.gov.


-- Call the Rock County Job Center at (608) 741-3488 for a phone interview or to ask for an application packet to be mailed to you.


-- Call 1-800-362-3002.


-- Visit the job center at 1900 Center Ave., Janesville, for a face-to-face interview.



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