Public health report shows progress in health insurance coverage

“Access to Health Care in Dane County,” a newly released report from Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC), highlights both the progress that has been made and the remaining challenges in making sure that all Dane County residents can receive needed health care. The report identifies a wide range of barriers and populations that face special challenges.

In the years leading up to the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly one in 10 Dane County residents could not see a doctor in the past year because they could not afford the cost. In 2013, an estimated 39,000 (8.9%) Dane County residents under age 65 did not have health insurance coverage.

Since 2013, with the availability of discounted private insurance through the federal Marketplace and the extension of BadgerCare Plus (Medicaid) to eligible “childless adults,” thousands of Dane County residents have been able to obtain coverage.

  • BadgerCare Plus saw a net enrollment gain of almost 10,000 Dane County residents from late 2013 through June of this year.
  • In 2014, 9,737 residents signed up for Marketplace insurance. In 2015, that number rose to 14,504 and an estimated 88% put their plans into effect.

According to PHMDC estimates, 14,000 to 16,000 of the Dane County residents who gained coverage since late 2013 were previously uninsured, reducing the number of residents without coverage by 36 to 40%. The remaining challenge is with the 23,000 to 25,000 county residents who are still without coverage.

Greater coverage gains have been achieved in those states that have expanded Medicaid to cover adults with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level.  Wisconsin has thus far opted out of this expansion.

Recommendations in the report will contribute to local efforts to improve access to health care in Dane County.

To read the full report, go to