Health Insurance in Wisconsin: Progress and Potential Improvement
The uninsured rate has been dropping since the implementation of major Affordable Care Act provisions. Wisconsin has seen a significant drop, however further improvement could be realized if BadgerCare+ was expanded to adults under 138% of the federal poverty level.
Here are five charts on the uninsured in Wisconsin that use recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Wisconsin’s uninsured rate dropped sharply in 2014 and 2015. From 2008 to 2013 the uninsured rate in Wisconsin held steady between 9.0% and 9.4%. The beginning of 2014 was a turning point when access to marketplace insurance opened up and BadgerCare eligibility for childless adults was expanded. 195,000 people gained insurance in Wisconsin between 2013 and 2015, which helped bring the uninsured rate down to 5.7%.
- There are still nearly 323,000 uninsured Wisconsinites. Our state’s uninsured population exceeds the total combined population of four of its cities: Green Bay, Kenosha, Eau Claire and La Crosse.
- Wisconsin trails two neighbor states, and others are catching up. Despite strong gains in insurance coverage over the past two years, Wisconsin trails two of its neighbors, Iowa (5.0%) and Minnesota (4.5%). Our other two neighbors, Illinois and Michigan, are catching up to Wisconsin.
- Large disparities persist. Despite sharp declines in uninsured rates across all racial groups, Wisconsin continues to see large coverage disparities between our white and minority populations.
- More than 46,000 Wisconsin children are uninsured. While the uninsured rates have decreased significantly for both adults and children in Wisconsin, we still have some work to do. Among the estimated 322,616 people who remain uninsured, 14 percent are children.