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Wisconsin Uninsured Rate Fell In 2014

Drop Coincides With ACA Marketplaces


According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people without health insurance around the nation and in Wisconsin fell dramatically in 2014.

2014 was an important year for President Barack Obama’s health care law, marking the opening of federally subsidized private insurance marketplaces.

“About 8.5 million more Americans had insurance. In Wisconsin, there were 100,000 fewer people who were uninsured,” said Jon Peacock, research director at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. “Those are unprecedented gains.”

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Peacock said the other key provision of “Obamacare” that went into effect in 2014 was the expansion of Medicaid, which Wisconsin opted out of.

“While we did improve in our coverage last year, we didn’t improve as much as the states that expanded Medicaid,” he said.

Gov. Scott Walker expanded BadgerCare coverage for more than 80,000 childless adults below the poverty line, at the same time reducing eligibility for nearly 60,000 parents.

“Some of those parents are now covered in the marketplace. But for some of them, the marketplace isn’t an affordable option,” said Peacock.

Wisconsin’s uninsured rate stands at about 7 percent, 1 percent behind neighboring Iowa and Minnesota. Both of those states expanded Medicaid in 2014.

Wisconsin’s uninsured rate was down about 2 percent from 2013. Peacock expects Wisconsin’s that number to fall when 2015 data is released: “The timing of the Census Bureau’s surveys were monthly over all of 2014. As a result of that, early in the year they weren’t capturing the gains that occurred throughout the year.”