Wisconsin Implements 12-Month Continuous Health Insurance Coverage for Children

Mandated by federal legislation, the change stabilizes health insurance for kids in BadgerCare Plus and other Medicaid programs

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. This new policy aims to improve health outcomes for children by stabilizing their access to care. States were required to implement this change made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed by Congress in December 2022.

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

Children enrolled in a qualifying program as of January 1, 2024, will be covered for 12 months, starting at their last application or renewal. 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 January 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.

The current qualifying income threshold for children’s coverage is 306% of the federal poverty level.

Continuous coverage was a temporary policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its success in reducing the number of uninsured children to near historic lows was a key factor that led to this new permanent policy. Families will have time to find new coverage if needed when they experience an income or other household change while having peace of mind that their children are still covered.

Only a few specific events would end a child’s coverage during the 12 months, such as the child turning 19 or moving out of state, or a request from their parents to disenroll. Find information about coverage for children on the DHS website.