DHS Secretary Promises Smooth Transition For Former BadgerCare Enrollees


Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Kitty Rhoades says the state will help former BadgerCare enrollees transition to the private market.

Governor Scott Walker’s plan to limit eligibility of BadgerCare to 100 percent of the federal poverty level will affect nearly 90,000 recipients.

Rhoades told the state’s largest business group Thursday that Medicaid is a disincentive to work.

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“We have heard from employers and from members of your organization: ‘My employees won’t take more hours because they’re going to lose their BadgerCare, so they choose to stay home.” Medicaid is a disincentive to work.”

Rhoades predicts consumers and insurers initially may not like the online marketplace to buy health coverage that Wisconsin could have run and chose not to. She says once the federally run exchange is operational, some childless adults now on BadgerCare will be transitioned to the private health market.

“It is my moral commitment that we are going to ensure that the people who will be transitioning off Medicaid into the exchange are able to do it with a smooth transition.”

Part of the transition involves navigators – people hired with federal money to assist consumers who want coverage.

“We don’t control the navigators. But we do want to license them and know this is not someone who is still in high school making the decisions.”

Lawmakers on the budget committee have approved 89 new positions for DHS, mainly to help determine what coverage poor people are eligible for under the Affordable Care Act.