COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of the Affordable Care Act for millions of Wisconsinites
Governor Tony Evers, with Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Mark Afable and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, announced that between November 1 and Novembe 21, 57,558 Wisconsinites enrolled in a healthcare plan for 2021 through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Exchange on Healthcare.gov.
Since its enactment, the ACA has helped reduce the number of uninsured, expanded access to affordable coverage, and increased coverage options for rural counties. It has also been the subject of countless ongoing partisan lawsuits attempting to gut healthcare coverage for millions of Americans even during a global pandemic.
“Perhaps now more than ever, as our state and country battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that every individual and family has access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage,” said Governor Evers. “Healthcare shouldn’t be limited to the healthy and wealthy, and that’s why we need to do everything we can to protect the Affordable Care Act from partisan lawsuits and ensure coverage for the more than 2.4 million Wisconsinites who have preexisting conditions. There is simply too much at stake.”
In April of 2019, Gov. Evers delivered on his promise to withdraw Wisconsin from the Republican lawsuit seeking to overturn the ACA and its protections for those with preexisting conditions. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on this case in mid-November. If successful, the lawsuit would threaten the healthcare coverage of nearly 200,000 Wisconsinites insured through the marketplace, as well as the 2.4 million Wisconsinites who have preexisting conditions, including more than 300,000 Wisconsin kids.
“There’s not a single person in Wisconsin or in this country that isn’t impacted by the Affordable Care Act,” said Andrea Palm, DHS Secretary-designee. “It expanded health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans and is the reason all of us can access preventive services free of charge, and insurers cannot impose limits or deny coverage because of preexisting conditions. It helped make sure that the almost 60,000 Wisconsinites that enrolled in a health plan this month were able to do so. And for Wisconsinites who still need affordable health coverage, I encourage you to sign up through Healthcare.gov before December 15.”
Commissioner Afable and DHS Secretary-designee Palm continue to urge Wisconsinites who need health insurance to explore plans available at HealthCare.gov. Open enrollment, the annual period in which people can enroll in a health insurance plan through the ACA Marketplace, continues through December 15, 2020. Those who already have insurance through the Marketplace can also renew, change, or update their plans during this period. Coverage begins on Jan. 1, 2021.
“The Affordable Care Act is the only law on the books protecting Wisconsinites with preexisting conditions,” Commissioner Afable said. “For many who are without health insurance, the HealthCare.gov marketplace remains their best – and perhaps only – point of access to quality, affordable coverage. The ACA has been instrumental in helping to safeguard consumers and provide affordable healthcare coverage for doctor visits, prescription medication, hospital stays and more.”
Those who would like help signing up for a plan are encouraged to visit WisCovered.com to find free help. Available in English, Spanish, and Hmong, WisCovered helps put people in touch with assistance via phone from organizations like Covering Wisconsin and the United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline. These experts can simplify the enrollment process and help families determine if they qualify for free coverage through BadgerCare or for help paying for their premium with coverage from HealthCare.gov.