Day of action: Officials join forces in Milwaukee to encourage people to enroll in health insurance

MILWAUKEE -- As only 10 days remain before the January 31 "Health Insurance Marketplace" enrollment deadline, federal and local officials joined partners in the Milwaukee Enrollment Network to urge uninsured Milwaukee residents to take advantage of local resources available for assistance.

On Thursday, January 21st -- a day selected by the White House to shine a national spotlight on Milwaukee’s work around health insurance enrollment and National Youth Enrollment Day, officials shared an update on the “Healthy Communities Challenge,” a spirited competition between 20 key communities nationwide with large numbers or high percentages of uninsured.

Last Friday, January 15th, the White House released its second update on the Challenge, with Milwaukee continuing to stay in the lead, closely followed by Chicago (2), Detroit (3), Atlanta (4) and Philadelphia (5).

“At the heart of this challenge is the health of our community,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Improving access to health insurance is a key step to improving the health of individuals. The Milwaukee Enrollment Network and its partners, including the City of Milwaukee, are continuing a great collaboration throughout this challenge to provide area residents with assistance and information on local resources.”

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working. It holds health insurance companies accountable and provides Americans with greater health security,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore. “Thanks to the ACA, selecting a private health care plan is easier than ever before. I encourage all of my constituents to take just 30 minutes out of their day to visit and get covered.”

Since the open enrollment period began on November 1, nearly 8.8 million consumers across the U.S. have signed-up for health coverage through the platform or had their coverage automatically renewed. For the first time this open enrollment period, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released enrollment numbers for the Milwaukee metropolitan area and enrollment numbers by zip code.

“The new numbers show that Marketplace enrollment in Wisconsin is strong with 224,719 already enrolling, and 82,131 in Milwaukee,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region 5 Director Kathleen Falk. “But we know there are many more still without coverage. That is why we so appreciate the efforts of Congresswoman Moore, Mayor Barrett and County Executive Abele in helping to get the word out so that no one wakes up on February 1 having missed this opportunity.”

Wisconsin residents have affordable options available to them on the Health Insurance Marketplace. About seven in 10 Wisconsin enrollees are eligible for plans costing $75 or less a month in premiums after tax credits, and about eight in 10 who are already enrolled but return to shop the Marketplace could save an average of $828 annual in premiums before tax credits. Those who can afford to purchase health insurance this year but choose not to may face a fine of $695 or more.

“When more people have health insurance we have a healthier community. Because of the Affordable Care Act it's easier than ever to find a plan that protects your health and your wallet,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “There are only 10 more days left in the open enrollment period but it's not too late to sign up for an affordable insurance plan. Milwaukee County residents can even access free in-person enrollment assistance by calling 2-1-1.”

Individuals with questions about the Health Insurance Enrollment Marketplace are encouraged to visit or call (800) 318-2596.

For local assistance, area residents can dial 2-1-1 to be connected to an assister or an enrollment event in their area.