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BadgerCare Plus change means children covered for full year

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(The Center Square) – A new federal change means children and teenagers in Wisconsin will not lose their state insurance, even if their parents do.

The Department of Health Services announced that children and teens up to 19-years-old will be covered for the entire year.

“Most new and existing members of Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Plus and other Medicaid programs who are under age 19 can now keep their health insurance benefits for at least 12 months, even if their family’s income increases or they no longer meet program rules,” DHS said in a statement.

More than 300,000 children and teens are currently enrolled in BadgerCare Plus, which is Wisconsin’s Medicaid program.

Families who earn up to 306% of the federal poverty level qualify for BadgerCare Plus. In 2024, that means a family making up to $7,500 a-month or $90,000 a-year, can get coverage.

“[This] change ensures Wisconsin children will continue to get the care they need when they need it,” DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson said in a statement. “Families will have peace of mind knowing their kids can get wellness checks, vaccines, and more to stay healthy.”

The change is part of the federal omnibus spending package that was approved by Congress in December 2022.

It doesn’t just cover children and teens for 2024. It covers them for an entire year after they qualify for the program.

“For example, a child in a household that renewed in July 2023 will keep benefits at least through June 2024, even if the household reports an income change. New members under age 19 who enroll in a qualifying program on or after Jan. 1, 2024, will also keep benefits for a full 12 months. Once the 12 months are over, they would complete a renewal process to see if they are still eligible,” DHS explained.

Adults can lose their state health coverage in Wisconsin if they make too much money. DHS says the only ways children and teens covered by BadgerCare Plus can lose their coverage is if they move out of Wisconsin, turn 19, or if their parents request to be disenrolled.

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