Wisconsin tries something different for kids' health care

The title says it all:
Wisconsin to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Kids, Regardless of Income

What, you want more?

Gov. Jim Doyle (D-Wis.) announced Wednesday "a sweeping restructuring of state health programs" that will take effect February 1, 2009, and will allow all parents, no matter their income level, to buy affordable coverage for their children, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

I like this idea, but I'm not sure how much. As anyone with kids knows, my insurance is cheap, add in my wife and family and it goes way up. The cost is $595.52 per month out of my paycheck and $346.38 from my employer. That's ~$950 a month for health insurance. I remember the good old days when I was at Duke and my family plan was increased to $200/month. By myself, the rate is only $43.98 a month plus $346.38. Add in my wife and it is $564. So the kids are only $30 a month.

Isn't that a bit fishy?

Anyway, this plan would...

allow families with children who do not qualify for existing state programs to buy insurance. The cost will range from $10 to $68.53 a month and will depend on the family's income.

So, for me, a program like this wouldn't help. UNLESS, I could add the children to that and my wife was a full-time worker, then she could get cheap insurance of her own, I could get cheap insurance of my own, and the kids would be paid for through this plan.

Isn't there an easier way?


How can kids only cost $30 a month?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I have wondered the same thing

All I could figure was that kids don't have as many health problems.

Kids get ear infections and scrapes and the occasional broken bones.

Adults are more likely to have heart failure, diabetes, cancer, etc. Some of it is because they are older. Some would certainly be from things like drinking, drugs, and smoking. Some would be becasue of other factors like exposure to more dangerous situations at work, driving, etc.

I expect you're right -

They're in a low-risk pool. And if they've got insurance, they're far more likely to get the well-child checkups, immunizations, etc. that will help keep them healthy.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Having not seen the plan, here are some wild guesses...

#1 -- it will be underwritten with taxpayer dollars.

#2 -- It's very limited coverage. Trips to specialists are only partially covered, things psychotropic drugs are out, and there's probably no provisions for mental health.

#3 -- They're going to implement alongside of it some real cost reducing measures, like aggressive case management of chronic illnesses, particularly childhood asthma and diabetes, which can radically cut down on ER costs. This is one of the real benefits that single payer coverage can do -- the state can do population-wide interventions which cost money but reduce costs in the end, and still reap the savings from it. Because the clients of private insurers are so dispersed, they can't target them for interventions as effectively.

Referring to the Wisconsin plan,

I think you are right on some of those points, but I was actually talking about MY plan. I pay $10/child per month.

Now, as for Wisconsin. It will be underwritten with taxpayer dollars, here is the rest of the RWJF blurb.

The program will be paid for through "streamlining state programs; expanding the use of health maintenance organizations; and the premiums and co-pays paid by families," according to the article.

While "Wisconsin has one of the lowest rates of uninsured children in the country," it still had about 71,000 uninsured children in 2006, up from 63,000 in 2005. Because almost half of all uninsured children are eligible for state programs but not enrolled, the initiative will try to make it easier for families to enroll by doing things such as providing temporary insurance cards to children while their applications are being completed and only requiring families to report "significant changes in their income," reports the Journal Sentinel.

According to Bobby Peterson, an attorney with ABC for Health, a nonprofit law firm, "BadgerCare Plus is a move in the right direction." However, he acknowledges that "implementation and execution are going to be critical." Emphasizing that the state will have to work to get kids enrolled and make sure they stay enrolled, Peterson said, "Let's not kid ourselves—it's still a complicated program," reports the Journal Sentinel (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/07/07).

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


Is what I think you meant in the title. I clicked through wondering how Wisconsin was getting away with singling out one tyke for alternative care.

It's the freakin' grammar police around here : )

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.