Madison, Wis. — Today, Governor Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Nathan Houdek, celebrated the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law under former President Barack H. Obama in 2010. The ACA ensures important protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as guaranteeing access to coverage for essential health benefits including hospitalizations, mental health and substance use disorder services, pediatric care, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care. As a result of the ACA’s requirement that health insurance companies spend a certain amount of premiums on medical care expenses, Wisconsin residents received over $50 million in rebates in 2020 alone.
The anniversary comes as there have been recent, renewed calls to repeal the ACA. In 2019, Gov. Evers withdrew Wisconsin from a lawsuit seeking to gut the ACA, including protections for the 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions.
“Every Wisconsinite should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. The Affordable Care Act has been a critical part of this work, and I was glad to deliver on my promise to get Wisconsin out of the lawsuit that could have gutted the Affordable Care Act and protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” said Gov. Evers. “I’m proud of our work to expand telehealth medicine, invest in mental health services and substance use treatment, and lower costs for life-saving prescriptions. But our work to expand access to affordable healthcare cannot end there. We must keep fighting to protect the Affordable Care Act, and whether it’s expanding BadgerCare, addressing health disparities in communities of color, or investing in public health and healthcare infrastructure, today we must reaffirm our work building healthier families and communities across our state.”
Governor Evers launched the DHS OCI Health Care Coverage Partnership in 2019 to improve coordination around outreach and education, increasing enrollment and health insurance literacy, and improving enrollment retention. In 2020, this partnership launched WisCovered.com as an accessible resource for consumers to get connected with enrollment information. The online services are available in English, Spanish, and Hmong. Over the past two years, Governor Evers has also invested $2 million to support increased health insurance education and enrollment assistance efforts.
“Thanks to the passage of the ACA 12 years ago, Wisconsinites have been able to access high quality, affordable health care through the federal marketplace,” said Commissioner Houdek. “Last year, 212,209 Wisconsinites signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov – Wisconsin’s highest enrollment since the 2018 open enrollment period.”
Under the ACA, states can also pursue innovative strategies for providing residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the important consumer protections included in the law. Since 2019, Wisconsin has operated the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan (WIHSP) under a 1332 State Innovation Waiver in an effort to help keep rates low while increasing choice for consumers.
Wisconsin has one of the most competitive health insurance marketplaces in the country, ranking second nationwide in number of participating insurers. Ensuring Wisconsin has a successful, competitive marketplace has helped more state residents, access affordable health insurance coverage.
“The ACA has allowed us to develop and implement successful programs like the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan to keep rates down and ensure that affordable coverage is accessible for everyone in Wisconsin,” continued Commissioner Houdek. “Since 2019, Governor Tony Evers has taken actions to build on the success of the ACA and further expand access to health care.”
Individuals who have recently lost health coverage, gotten married, or had a baby may qualify for a special enrollment period to sign up for coverage on Healthcare.gov. Wisconsinites can find out if they qualify by calling (877) 947-2211 or finding free local help through Covering Wisconsin.