Health Care and Health Insurance Resources for Consumers
In early February, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) withdrew from participation in the Consumer Assistance Grant Program that was funded by the federal Affordable Care Act. After a review of this program, it was determined that OCI along with other public and private entities in Wisconsin were efficiently providing these services and that spending taxpayer money on the same services was duplicative and unnecessary.
Also, Wisconsin has a wealth of sources of information for consumers to seek answers to their questions about health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid\BadgerCare. OCI's Consumer Web site contains information for consumers regarding health insurance issues including links to other sources of information including how to contact the Medicare Helpline run by the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long-Term Care. Visit http://oci.wi.gov for more information.
Unlike many other states, Wisconsin's health insurance marketplace is very competitive. Wisconsin's uninsured rate remains well under the national average. From 2009 to 2010, complaints to OCI regarding health insurance dropped 19%.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has eligibility and enrollment information for Medicaid\BadgerCare and other programs provided by the state for those in need. In addition, county elderly benefit specialists and social service agencies provide an extra layer of information and support for Wisconsin residents seeking information on health insurance and health care coverage options. Visit http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ for more information.
For those with employer-sponsored or individual health insurance questions OCI encourages you to connect with your health insurance agent either directly or through your employer's human resources contact. Health insurance agents are able to answer your questions and make sure your products are tailor made to suit your needs and can work with you to help make your coverage affordable. Consumers who are enrolled in self-funded employer-sponsored plans, where the employer pays for employee health care costs directly, can get answers to their questions at the Employee Benefits Security Administration in the U. S. Department of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/).
As always, if you have a concern about your health insurance, you are encouraged to contact OCI. Consumers can get assistance through the filing of insurance complaints and contacting the toll-free information line at 1-800-236-8517. OCI also has an extensive list of publications on all insurance topics at http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list.htm.