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BadgerCare Plus kicks off Friday

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ANN MARIE AMES
January 31, 2008
— Starting Friday, all Wisconsin children will qualify for health insurance through BadgerCare Plus, regardless of their family’s income.

That’s a good thing for the children, said Cindy Sutton, economic support division manager at the Rock County Job Center.


But it could make things tough for the 41 economic support workers at the job center who already have 400 cases each per month, Sutton said.


BadgerCare Plus will streamline Medicaid, BadgerCare and Healthy Start into one comprehensive program, Sutton said. Medical assistance for the elderly and disabled will not change, she said.


The program also expands coverage of pregnant women, young adults leaving foster care and the self-employed.


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.


Rock County families have several options to enroll:


-- Starting Friday, click on 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.


The Access Wisconsin Web site will make it easy to track the predicted jump in applications, Sutton said. She plans to compare February’s numbers to December’s and January’s. She’ll know in March how well the staff will be able to handle the change, she said.


“We’ll wait and see,” Sutton said.


Question & answer

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services and the BadgerCare Plus Web site:


Q: Who qualifies for coverage under BadgerCare Plus?


A: All children younger than 19, regardless of their family’s income. The program also covers some pregnant women, caretakers of children, young adults leaving out-of-home care such as foster care, farmers and other self-employed parents.


Q: What income levels qualify for free coverage?


1 family member—monthly income limit of $1,701.67


2 family members—$2,281.67


3 family members—$2,861.67


4 family members—$3,441.67


5 family members—$4,021.67


For each additional family member, add $580.


Q: How do I take part if I’m over the income limits?


A: If your family income is over the monthly income limit listed above, you may be able to enroll in a limited insurance plan for children, pregnant women and certain self-employed families called the Benchmark Plan.


Q: When should I apply?


A: As soon as possible beginning Friday. Apply even if your family income is over the monthly income limits, because your child might qualify.


Q: What if I have health insurance at work?


A: Apply. In some cases, the state might pay your premiums, coinsurance and deductibles.



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