Kevin Moore Discusses BadgerCare, Health Care Exchanges

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Kevin Moore Discusses BadgerCare, Health Care Exchanges

Premiere Date: 
September 27, 2013

The DHS deputy secretary explains health care changes with the Affordable Care Act.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

Next Tuesday, the new healthcare insurance marketplace opens for business under the Affordable Care Act. While efforts persist to ditch the new health law, or delay it or defund it, for now it appears all systems go for people seeking to sign up for new insurance under the law. In Wisconsin, more than 600,000 people are expected to head to the marketplace for coverage in the next two years, including more than 90,000 people currently on the state BadgerCare plan that will lose coverage because their incomes are too high under new eligibility rules here. The deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is Kevin Moore. He joins us now with details on all of this. And thanks very much for being here. 

Kevin Moore:

Thanks for having me. 

Frederica Freyberg:

Well, now, as we've said, with three days remaining until the so-called marketplace can begin enrolling people, is it, to your knowledge as we've said in the introduction, all systems go?  

Kevin Moore:

That's the great question we get asked on a daily basis, and based on the information that we've received and continue to receive from our partners at the federal level, we believe that on October 1st, the health insurance exchanges will go live, and that people will be able to shop for healthcare in the exchange. So we know that there's a lot of discussion about smaller aspects of the laws that in different states have had different experiences, but based on where we are in Wisconsin, we're hearing from our federal partners that it is all systems go for the 1st. 

Frederica Freyberg:

Now, presuming that so-called Obamacare remains in place, and something doesn't happen in Washington that kind of derails it, who exactly will need to be seeking private insurance that previously had been on BadgerCare?  

Kevin Moore:

Okay. The main population, and we estimate there's about 92,000 in this transition population, will be parents and care takers, above 100% and below 200% of the federal poverty level. So those individuals now will be transitioning. And our game plan has always been to provide them with information and resources to make that transition as smooth as possible. There will be a small group of people under the BadgerCare Core plan, which is the childless adult plan, those people will also be part of our outreach efforts. And so that has actually begun this week in that first wave of communicating to people. 

Frederica Freyberg:

And so all of these people will be getting these letters describing to them that they either will -- will the letters say that they are either ineligible or eligible?  

Kevin Moore:

The letters will essentially highlight, based on our read right now of their eligibility, will tell them, look, BadgerCare now is no longer available, and you will now have access to affordable health insurance through the exchange. As you mentioned, this week we've sent out letters to that population. The last batch goes out today. But in addition to the letters, we've also procured a call center. We've seen in other areas where we've transitioned populations, that the combination of direct mail and a phone call, and not just a canned call, but actually having a live person to get on the phone and help them navigate through the system, has been incredibly effective. So that process will conspire over the next couple of weeks here so that as we get people enrolled into the exchange, or the marketplace, that we’ll be able to continue to make follow-up phone calls to the population to find out exactly what's going on. Is it a communication issue?  Did they not get the letter the first time?  Do we have bad information?  How can we help that person navigate through the system? 

Frederica Freyberg:

Those people that will be on the other end of the live phone call, they will help people navigate into the marketplace of insurance policies, or just navigate getting out of BadgerCare?  

Kevin Moore:

The word "navigate" has gotten a lot of different connotations since the concept of the navigator came out so what we are looking to do is make sure that they have the information to know that, look, if you're interested, you can go to healthcare.gov. That is going to be the state's web portal. If you have a question, there's a toll free number that if you don't use the internet, you can use. We're fortunate in Wisconsin that people on Medicaid, our members, use the internet about 60% of the time to maintain their accounts, so we really think that the web site will be a viable option. But, to the cases where either they didn't get the letter, or there's other issues where communication is an issue, we want to make sure that we can work through the next couple of months so that when we get towards the solid deadlines at the end of 2013, that we can manage through that, and that's what our goal always has been. 

Frederica Freyberg:

Now, what is the role of these regional enrollment networks that were designed by your agency?  

Kevin Moore:

Yep, regional enrollment networks, I wish I could say they were designed by us. We actually parroted what was going on in Milwaukee County. Joy Tapper in the Milwaukee Health Partnership really created what is a grassroots organic model of trying to identify where people connect to the system. One of the lines that Secretary Kitty Rhodes uses a lot as we go from town to town is when Medicare Part D was rolled out, the federal government spent a lot of money educating everybody about what was going to happen. But yet we found out that for a lot of seniors, the way that they got information on the program was they talked to their pharmacist. They talked to people that they trust. They talked to organizations that they know. So rather than having a top-down approach, we developed this regional enrollment network model. There's 11 of them throughout the state. They’re available on our web site if anybody's interested, on which enrollment network they're on. But they're designed to be grassroots. They're designed to be able to conform to what your community has. Dane County is going to have a different set of players, qualified health plans, not for profit groups, than maybe somebody up in Phillips or somebody in Spooner. So we wanted to make sure that the local communities had something that they could build, but also was sustainable moving forward, regardless of who's in the administration. 

Frederica Freyberg:

So if someone goes on your web site, they can see these regional networks and there will be contact information on there for them?  

Kevin Moore:

It's that group, and then the E4Health Group is also another organization that's really spearheading this, it's e4health, the number four, e4healthwi.org. And they've been a really key partner in bringing together a lot of different individuals. Just as a point, we've had over 1,500 people come to our regional enrollment networks, all the way from big hospital groups to political organizations that want to be involved. 

Frederica Freyberg:

Now, with just less than a minute left, I wanted to ask, isn't it weird to be designing all these enrollment efforts across the state for a law that your boss, Governor Walker, disapproves of?  

Kevin Moore:

Well, the governor has outlined that he's never been a fan of the Affordable Care Act, but yet at the same time token, it is the law of the land. And so for the people that he represents here in the state of Wisconsin, our objective has always been to make sure that from a state's perspective, that people have the information and knowledge that they need. The governor backed that up with investments. He backed it up with millions of dollars to help our income maintenance offices in Milwaukee and across the state to get staffed up for the new flood of individuals that are going to come in to this system. So the reality is there's a lot of political posturing going on, but since the governor signed the budget, which was his budget in terms of these particular areas, we've been focused on just operationalizing this, because that's what the Wisconsin taxpayers and Wisconsin residents are expecting. 

Frederica Freyberg:

All right. Deputy Secretary Kevin Moore, thank you very much. 

Kevin Moore:

Thank you very much.  


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