Wisconsin health care signups decline in 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Fewer people in Wisconsin have enrolled for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act in 2018 compared to last year.

Wisconsin Public Radio reported that around 62,000 people purchased ACA health care plans this year, falling behind the 2017 total of 78,000 state residents.

Volunteer navigators have traveled to numerous sites in hopes of signing up residents from diverse populations, such as refugees and people of color. Wisconsin received a navigator grant this year, but it was reduced for the second consecutive year.

"We really are trying to get more people who haven't been in the marketplace before. So we're also doing events such as Madison College to get more young people," said Adam VanSpankeren, who helps people enroll in health plans through Covering Wisconsin, which received the federal navigator grant.

The organization received a $200,000 federal endowment this year, a 65 percent reduction from last year.

Local governments and nonprofits, such as United Way, have attempted to supplement limited federal funding by ramping up their efforts to help people register for ACA health plans.

"Locally, we've had the county and the city come in and help make up some of that loss in both Madison and Milwaukee which is really helpful," VanSpankeren said.

There are about two weeks left in 2018 to openly enroll under the Affordable Care Act.

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