State health care navigator gets $2M to connect more people to coverage

By: - November 19, 2021 1:16 pm
Close-up of American Dollar banknotes with stethoscope

Photo by Getty Images

A nonprofit group that helps Wisconsin residents seeking health insurance coverage is getting a $2 million boost, the state health department announced Friday.

The funds will go to Covering Wisconsin. The organization, affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides consumers with information year-round on health insurance and helps people sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced the organization will get the $2 million from the state’s allotment under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), federal pandemic relief legislation enacted earlier this year. The funds will help Covering Wisconsin “as it raises awareness and offers personalized assistance to guide people through the process of finding coverage,” DHS stated in its announcement.

Karen Timberlake, DHS secretary-designee, announced the award in Appleton Friday at an event for open enrollment in health insurance plans under the Wisconsin health insurance marketplace that is part of the ACA.

“The importance of having health insurance has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Timberlake stated Friday, noting that for people whose coverage isn’t provided through an employer, “it can be a confusing and daunting task to figure out on their own.”

Covering Wisconsin is a statewide health navigator under the ACA and focuses on helping people find appropriate health coverage. The organization focuses on populations most at risk, according to DHS, and the grant will help fund outreach work to make more people aware of its work. The money will also expand the group’s work in helping people enroll in insurance and will assist in efforts to convey information to underserved and vulnerable populations about health care and coverage.

“Covering Wisconsin has the relationships and expertise to help people across the state evaluate their options and find what works for them,” Timberlake stated. The new grant will assist the organization’s goal “to make sure all Wisconsinites have health care coverage.”

Covering Wisconsin also develops health information materials for the public and provides training for professionals on health policies and programs in the state. The organization is funded by grants and donations as well as by contracts with various organizations.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.