MADISON, Wis. - The deadline has come to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and it's also the day of a big shift of people on and off BadgerCare.
Some 77,000 people will now be expected to sign up for health insurance through the marketplaces and 87,000 other childless adults in poverty can then apply for the state Medicaid plan. But as of Monday's deadline, the state has no idea how many people have made that transition.
The deputy secretaries of the Department of Health Services and Office of the Commissioner of Insurance held a conference call with reporters Monday, discussing a report of their efforts to implement the ACA. They said they had sent countless mailings and made thousands of phone calls to the populations going on and off BadgerCare, but they wouldn't have enrollment figures for another few weeks.
In the meantime, liberal group Citizen Action Wisconsin held a news conference at the Capitol Monday to draw attention to those going off BadgerCare.
Carrie Cronson brought one of her sons to share her story.
"I'm sure that there are lots of people who can sleep soundly at night knowing if they wake up in the morning, if they get sick or get hit by a car or whatever millions of things that could happen to a person in day-to-day life, that they will be covered and will be OK," Cronson said. "Myself and 77,000 others had that taken away from them."
Cronson will now have to get a plan on the marketplace, like many others who crowded the Dane County Job Center Monday.
Matt Glimme is a part-time cook and part-time student who was told he made $700 dollars too much for BadgerCare.
"Now that I go to school I don't make enough hours," Glimme said.
While Glimme is signing up, Cronson hasn't.
"I've looked into the prices and it's not something I can feasibly afford," Cronson said. She said she understands she could pay a penalty and is still evaluating her options.
While state leaders continue to assess how many have enrolled, they say their way of adopting the ACA isn't more confusing.
"I think a lot of other states look at Wisconsin as somewhat of a model," said Dan Schwartzer, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance. "The fact that it was a coordinated effort from the beginning, I think there is a lot more confusion in other states compared to Wisconsin, quite frankly."
Those shifting off BadgerCare do have an additional 60 days to get signed up for insurance through the marketplaces before a penalty incurs. The state hopes to have those numbers in the next couple weeks as they work with the federal government on a data match.
There was some trouble with healthcare.gov on Monday, but the Obama Administration has said that anyone currently in the pipeline as of midnight Monday won't pay a penalty for not having insurance if they are signed up for health care by April 7.
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