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Wood County Health Department Provides Support for Residents During Wisconsin's Medicaid Unwinding

Posted 6/7/2023 by kegge@co.wood.wi.us


CONTACT: Susan Smith, Wood County Health Department Director/Health Officer

(715) 421-8911

Wood County Health Department Provides Support for Residents During Wisconsin’s Medicaid “Unwinding”

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – If you get health care coverage through a Medicaid program, like BadgerCare Plus, you might be at risk of losing that coverage over the next year. During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the federal government required DHS to allow BadgerCare Plus and Medicaid members to maintain health care coverage through the “continuous coverage” requirement. This policy is ending due to federal legislation passed in December 2022 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023). The federal PHE ended May 11, 2023. Now states are “unwinding” the continuous coverage requirement and resuming routine operations by having enrolled members complete the renewal process for the first time in 3 years.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is notifying all Wisconsinites enrolled in BadgerCare Plus or another Medicaid program and they will need to renew their benefits by an assigned due date between June 2023 and May 2024. Members should also make sure Wisconsin DHS has their current address, phone number, and email so they can get essential information and renew their benefits by their assigned due date. The easiest way for members to update their contact information is at access.wi.gov or by using the free MyACCESS app.

“We want to make sure that Medicaid members are aware of what is happening and to update their contact information if it has changed, watch their mailbox, read the letters from Wisconsin DHS, and act by their renewal deadline,” says Wood County Health Officer Susan Smith. “This unwinding process is happening nationwide and will affect many within Wisconsin. There could be numerous people in Wood County that are not even aware they need to complete a renewal to stay enrolled in a Medicaid program, because they moved and did not update their mailing address or contact information with the state,” says Smith.

WI DHS’s priority is to ensure Wisconsinites continue to have health care coverage – whether through state programs, an employer, privately, or through HealthCare.gov (Marketplace). Members who need to transition to other health insurance should check with their employer about health benefits or can visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 to find low-cost insurance plans. Even if an individual is not eligible for Medicaid benefits, their child might still be eligible through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Covering Wisconsin, the state’s health insurance navigator agency, also provides free assistance to anyone who needs more information or technical support. Navigators are a free community resource and can help members understand the renewal process, fill out applications, upload documents, or find plans and financial assistance on HealthCare.gov. People can also visit WisCovered.com to learn more about options, webchat with a navigator, or find free, local help.

Households enrolled in BadgerCare Plus or another Wisconsin Medicaid program received a letter in March or April with their assigned renewal date between June 2023 and May 2024. Electronic versions of these letters are also available at access.wi.gov. Members will receive a renewal packet in the mail 45 days before their due date letting them know that it is time to renew. The packet will also be available in their ACCESS account. Members should not renew until they receive this packet. Under federal guidelines, DHS must keep members covered until their next renewal. Renewing early could result in members losing coverage earlier than their assigned renewal date.

To ensure that all residents in Wood County have equitable access and knowledge of the Medicaid renewal process and HealthCare.gov, we are hosting a Medicaid Unwinding Event this upcoming Tuesday June 6th from 8am-12pm at the WRPS Educational Services Center in Wisconsin Rapids. This event is designed for any individual who needs help or has questions regarding Medicaid programs (BadgerCare Plus), HealthCare.gov, and health insurance. For anyone needing to complete their renewal, remember to bring the following items in order for our navigators to help you:

  • Renewal Letter
  • Renewal Packet (if completing by mail)
  • Proof of Citizenship/Identity (for everyone in the household)
  • Proof of Income (for everyone in the household)

The complete list of documents needed are available on DHS’s website about the Medicaid renewal process. There will be health navigators and Spanish and Hmong translators/interpreters from the Hmong and Hispanic Communication Network Project (H2N) attending. There will also be an insurance agent from Jeff Clark and Associates, representatives from the Wood County Human Services Department, the Northern IM Consortium, and a representative from the Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign who will be joining.

Details of the Medicaid Unwinding Event below:

June 6th from 8am-12pm

WRPS Educational Services Center (in the cafeteria)

510 Peach St.

Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494

Coffee, water, and breakfast pastries provided by Starbucks and Walmart