Monday, January 3, 2011

DHS Reports that BadgerCare Basic is Serving More than 5,000 and Financially Solvent

Members of the Joint Finance Committee received a short DHS report today on the BadgerCare Plus Basic program, which was launched in July 2010 to make a low-cost, unsubsidized health care plan available to childless adults on the waiting list for the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan. DHS reported that as of December 14, 2009, BadgerCare Plus Basic was serving 5,066 people and was financially solvent.

The brief DHS report says that as of December 13 the department had collected $3.45 million in premiums for the plan and had expended $3.20 million for claims payments. In addition, the department continues to have a $1 million reserve fund that was set aside from a federal grant.

Because most people on the BadgerCare plus Core Plan waiting list have little or no income, some people – myself included – thought there would be little demand for BC+ Basic, which offers a bare bones, $130 per month plan. If that fear proved to be correct, the plan would probably attract sicker people and the state’s costs for the claims would be likely to exceed the available premium revenue. Thus far, the participation has been much greater than I had anticipated, and that has helped make the program financially solvent through the initial 6 months. I hope that will continue to be true a year from now.

Slightly over half of the BC+ Basic enrollees are between the ages of 51 and 64, and almost half have income below 80 percent of the poverty level.

Jon Peacock

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