More Companies Are Providing Health Insurance On Exchange This Enrollment Period

More Than 92K People Have Signed Up For Coverage On Exchange In Wisconsin So Far

St. Clare Health Mission Director Sandy Brekke speaking at a press conference on Monday on efforts to increase sign-ups on Photo: Maureen McCollum/WPR News.

Wisconsin consumers purchasing health insurance through the federal exchange have more companies to choose from this year.

During the Affordable Care Act’s first year, 13 companies provided insurance through the individual market in Wisconsin. Two more companies — Managed Health Services Insurance Corporation and United Healthcare’s All Savers Insurance Company — signed on for the latest enrollment period.

At an event Monday, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, said having more providers can increase competition and bring down the prices.

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“Some insurance companies waited to see what the first year would look like, and now that they saw what it is and the fact that a lot of the problems are cleaned up, they’re jumping in,” he said. “And that’s a good sign. It means they want in to the market. They want to be in there competing with other plans.”

Kind said the state needs even more companies to offer insurance through the marketplace.

Meanwhile, more than 92,000 people in Wisconsin have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace during the latest enrollment period. While officials are pleased with those numbers, there are ongoing efforts to reach out to those who have not signed up for coverage.

St. Clare Health Mission is a free clinic in La Crosse. Since the Affordable Care Act kicked in, its volunteers have signed up more than 1,000 people for health insurance. Sandy Brekke, the mission’s director, said they’re aggressively trying to get people enrolled in the marketplace. For those who still don’t have coverage, she said the biggest barrier is a lack of knowledge.

“In fact, we run into people daily who maybe have never heard of the Affordable Care Act, or more commonly it’s called ObamaCare. If they’ve heard of it, they don’t know it pertains to them and they would have no idea how to get into that system,” she said.

Brekke said other obstacles include computer access and affordability.

The last day to sign up for insurance through the federal marketplace is Feb. 15.