Paging the 402,000 Wisconsinites without healthcare

    Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes make a pitch to get Wisconsinites signed up for healthcare in Milwaukee.
    Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes make a pitch to get Wisconsinites signed up for healthcare in Milwaukee.

    For any Wisconsinites in need of health insurance, November 1 is an important day. State, local and federal officials are banding together to get out the word that open enrollment is now live for insurance plans in the health insurance marketplace. And in Wisconsin, people are standing by to help navigate that bureaucratic process.

    In Wisconsin, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes joined together in launching “From Confused to Covered” as a campaign to make sure everyone in Wisconsin knows about their healthcare options, explained and with links for enrollment at GetCovered.WI.gov.

    Enrollment is open from Nov. 1 – Dec. 15 this year. In addition to the website, Wisconsinites can all call or text 2-1-1 to be connected with a local-enrollment expert.


    “We need to do everything we can to help people to get the quality, affordable healthcare coverage they need,” said Baldwin. “Gov. Evers is providing funding for more health insurance navigators and conducting an awareness campaign in the state, so that families in Wisconsin will have the information they need to sign up for quality, comprehensive coverage that includes essential health services … at a price they can afford.”

    State Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm noted that the help applies whether someone is eligible for BadgerCare Plus or needs to enroll in a private plan on HealthCare.gov. Another state source of information is HealthWatch Wisconsin, which has bulletins that outline basic enrollment steps, as well as potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. 

    According to the Wisconsin Family Health Survey, approximately 7% of Wisconsin residents went without health insurance for part or all of 2018. That translates into 402,000 people in the state without insurance. And even while there were many new enrollments, there was a 15% decline overall on the marketplace.

    Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes made a special pitch for his hometown of Milwaukee, where last year 8,600 fewer people got enrolled for health insurance than did so three years prior, in 2015.

    “Nearly 68,000 people in Milwaukee County are uninsured, but we can change that,” Barnes said. “We’re encouraging everyone in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin to apply for coverage. Together, we can create a healthier Wisconsin where everyone, regardless of ZIP code, has the opportunity to thrive.”

    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.