HWW Update


HWW Update
Home About HealthWatch Annual Conference Training Publications
Vol. 11, No. 1 January 15, 2015

One Day Left for Early Bird Registration!


Friday, January 16 is the last day to take advantage of Early Bird prices for the 8th Annual HealthWatch Wisconsin Conference: "R U Covered?"! After that prices will go up. Right now members can register for only $120. That's over half off the conference price. Not a member? Join when you register and pay only $155. That's a discount on registration and on your membership!

Conference Draft Agenda Now Available

To view a draft agenda for the Conference, click here. Here are a few of the highlighted topics that will be address:

  • Conversation with Your Elected Officials: A Panel of State Legislators
  • The State of BadgerCare Plus: Parents, Children & Childless Adults
  • Making Health Coverage Connections
  • Consortia Troubleshooters Roundtable
  • How to Use & Keep Your Coverage
  • Marketplace Troubleshooting (Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced sessions)
  • The Impact of Health Reform on Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs
  • Evaluating Adults for Disability Programs Including MAPP
  • Women's Health Coverage after Reform
  • Reinvigorating your HealthWatch Coalition
  • Now that you have insurance...how do you use it?!

Ways to Register:

In this issue...

We update you on the Annual Conference, take a look at some of the tax implications of the ACA, analyze the BadgerCare Plus enrollment numbers for December, and more! We also get you caught up on Provider Memos, Ops Memos and showcase some great articles from the past two weeks. Of course, we bring you case tips and a news round-up, per usual!

Thanks to all of the current members, subscribers, and supporters--you make the HealthWatch Update possible!

HealthWatch members and subscribers, click on the red button below to start reading the full version of this newsletter! Remember to enter your login and password when prompted.

If you are new to the Training Portal, simply click "register" after clicking on the red button above. Answer the questions, create a username and password, and we'll help you take it from there! Not a member? Click here to join HealthWatch Wisconsin!

In the Training Portal: Newsletter Table of Contents:

Some of the news and analysis features added to the Training Portal as of January 15 includes:

  • One Day Left for Early Bird Registration!
  • The Survey Results are In!
  • Breaking: Childless Adult Enrollment Tops 141,000
  • VCT: What (or Who) is a Gap Filler?
  • All Things TAX
  • Medicaid Expansion Roundup: New Ideas from States and New Flexibility? Options for Wisconsin
  • Medicare Part A and B: Enrollment is Open!
  • Rural Health News
  • Ask a Good Question... Katie Beckett
  • Nominate your Co-worker for a HealthWatch Award!
  • Coalition Roundup
  • MTM Audit
  • HealthWatch Trivia
  • Et Cetera: New Handbook links, Ops Memos & Updates
  • Headlines
  • And much more!

Members and paid subscribers, click here to login and view the Update online!

Not a member yet? No problem! Click here to register online and pay for your membership or subscription with a credit card. Or, you can print a registration form to mail or fax back to us (instructions provided on the form). If you would like to register over the phone or have questions about the registration process, please call 1-800-585-4222 ext. 219 and talk to Cassidy.

The Survey Results are In!

You Named the Update Newsletter your FAVORITE Member Benefit of HealthWatch Wisconsin in 2014! Share this newsletter with a friend!

Other highlights of the survey inlude:

  • Where people read the update: at work
  • Why people read the update: to stay up to date on health reform
  • Precent of people who have forwarded the update on to others: 50%
  • The most valuable part of the conference: smaller breakout sessions
  • Biggest area for improvement: Publications
HealthWatch Member Announcements:

Nominate your Co-worker for a HealthWatch Award!

The 8th Annual HealthWatch Wisconsin Conference is right around the corner! At this event, HealthWatch will again include an awards ceremony to recognize outstanding efforts for 2014. We need your help! Send us a nomination for a deserving person in one of our award categories:

  • Advocate of the Year
  • Elected Official of the Year
  • Outstanding Media Coverage
  • Outstanding Outreach Effort

Last year's award recipients were:

  • Advocate of the Year: Jon Peacock, of Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. Jon is admired for keeping up to date with current health issues and being an asset to the HealthWatch community.
  • Outreach Effort of the Year: Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin’s Better Together Project. GHC showed an exceptional commitment to user-friendly education and outreach around health reform in South-Central Wisconsin.
  • Outstanding Media of the Year: Nora Hertel, for her story “States Differ Widely in Cost,” researched and reported on when Nora was with the WI Center for Investigative Journalism.

Make your nomination today! Send an Email or Fax (608-261-6938) to HealthWatch with the following information:

  • Your Name & Contact info
  • The Award Nominee's Name and Contact Info
  • Which Award You are Nominating this person for
  • A few words why this individual/organization is worthy of the honor

Act fast: Please submit all nominations by Friday, January 16, 2015.

Annual Call for Nominations to the HealthWatch Leadership Council!

Develop your leadership skills with HealthWatch Wisconsin! Each year, the membership of HealthWatch Wisconsin elects a new Council members to serve a three-year term on the HealthWatch Council. These leaders help plan events and work to direct and amplify the powerful voice of the membership!

HealthWatch solicits nominations each fall from the membership-looking for people of diverse backgrounds and public-health-oriented professions. The last opportunity to submit nominations is at the Annual Conference in early 2015.

If you know someone you would like to nominate--or if you wish to nominate yourself, send us an email! Include your name, workplace, contact information, and the name of the individual you are nominating. Thank you!

Video Case Tip: What (or Who) is a Gap Filler?

In this Video Case Tip, Brynne McBride of ABC for Health discusses the unique “catch 22” situation, when people are caught between BadgerCare Plus and the Marketplace. It all comes down to how income is counted. Watch the video to see what these "Gap Fillers" should do.

Click here or on the picture to the right to view the Video Case Tips. This video has now been closed captioned! Just click the CC button on the menu bar below the video to see the closed captioning (See picture to the right).

What problems are you seeing in your area?

Send your questions or comments in an email, and we'll create a follow-up web cast filled with the answers!

All our videos are archived in our Video Case Tip Library so you can visit them at any time.
Medicare Part A and B: Enrollment is Open!

Eligibility for Medicare Part A and B begins when someone turns 65. When this happens, individuals have a seven month time period to sign up. It begins 3 months prior to their birth months, includes their birth month, and ends 3 months after their birth month. For example, if Sam turns 65 on February 3, his open enrollment period would begin on November 1 and extend through May 31.

However, if someone misses this enrollment period, there is an open enrollment period every year from January 1 through March 31. Enrollment during this time, will have a coverage start date of July 1. As a penalty for night signing up right away for coverage, Part A or Part B premiums may be higher than they would have been if an individual would have enrolled during the initial 7 month period.

There are also circumstances that allow for Special Enrollment Periods. This is mostly for those who are covered under a group health plan when they turn 65 through either their employer or a spouse's employer. A new Special Enrollment Period would begin when that coverage ended. Usually Special Enrollment Periods do not require individuals to pay higher premiums for not signing up right away. For more information, visit the Medicare website.

Remember the Marketplace!

Open Enrollment Period: November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015

Today, January 15 is the last day to sign up for Marketplace coverage that that will begin February 1!

State Audit of Medicaid Transportation Issues: Share Your MTM Story

The Wisconsin Medicaid Transportation Program and vendor will face a state audit. Auditors are encouraging members of the public to contact them or the Legislative Audit Bureau directly with complaints and other information that they think should be included within the audit.

The Legislative Audit Bureau wants individuals with complaints or experiences with MTM to contact the LAB hotline (1-877-372-8317) to get an accurate picture of the quality of services MTM is providing. The Audit Bureau is online: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lab/

Coalition Roundup

Help us complete our new listing of 2015 upcoming HealthWatch local coalition meetings! Email us! As always, contact the coalition directly for more information.

Coalition Next Meeting Contact
Chippewa County TBD Rose Marsh
Dane County Feb. 2 Anna Kaminski
Eau Claire Feb. 5 Lou Kelsey
Milwaukee Feb. 11 Danielle Coterel
Pierce County TBD Kelsi Winter
Polk County TBD Mike Rust
Tri-County Jan. 23 Connie Raether


Ask a Good Question...

My son lives at home, but needs extra care. We have private health insurance, but it doesn't cover the level of care he needs. What are our other coverage options?

...Get a Good Answer: Login to the Training Portal to see the answer to this question!


FoodShare Handbook, published October 17, 2014 in Release 14-03.

Marketplace Handbook: On October 3, CMS's Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight released the first edition of a "Federally Facilitated Marketplace Enrollment Operational Policy & Guidance" Handbook, effective October 1. All enrollments made on or after October 1, 2013 MUST be processed in accordance with these requirements. This is a "living document!" Advocates, providers, and consumers are encouraged to submit comments or recommended changes. Email EnrollmentGuidance@cms.hhs.gov, and write "Comments on Enrollment Manual" in the subject line of the email.

BadgerCare Plus Handbook, published November 20, 2014 in Release 14-04

Medicaid Eligibility Handbook (MEH), published December 18, 2014 in Release 14-02

Administrator's Memo 14-04, 2015 IM Consortia Administrative Allocation, has been published to the DHS web

Ops Memos

Ops Memo 14-53, 2015 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

Ops Memo 14-35, Private Pay Nursing Home Rate

Ops Memo 14-06, Fraud Prevention and Investigation Program Allocations and Guidelines for CY 2015

Ops Memo 14-55, Updates to Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) Policy, has been amended

Ops Memo 14-56, FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) Program for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs)

Ops Memo 15-01, Annual Updates to Income Thresholds for Determining Whether Child or Tax Dependent is "Expected to be Required to File Taxes"

Public Notices Health Services Annual Adjustment to Fees That May be Charged by a Health Care Provider for Providing Copies of a Patient's Health Care Records. See PDF for Diagram.


The Cost of Stinginess in Medicaid, New York Times, Jan. 13

New Rules to Limit Tactics on Hospitals' Fee Collections, New York Times, Jan. 11

What would happen if the Supreme Court dismembers Obamacare, the Washington Post, Jan. 9

Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act Applies to Undocumented Worker, State Bar of Wisconsin, Jan. 6

DHS Report to JFC, Joint Committee on Finance, Jan. 2

The Dane Difference: Why Are Dane County's Exchange Premiums Lower?, HealthAffairs Blog, Dec. 18

How Obamacare reduces racial disparities in health care, MSNBC, Dec. 16

Tell Us What You Think!

HealthWatch Wisconsin Update readers, we want to hear from you! What do you think of the format? How do you find the material on the HealthWatch Wisconsin Training Site? Do you have any topics you'd like to see or questions you want answered. Please email HealthWatch and let us know!

Help HealthWatch Wisconsin & ABC for Health with a Tax-Deductible Contribution!

Support ABC for Health as we pursue our mission of helping people in Wisconsin secure access to health care and coverage. Our staff works tirelessly with the thousands of families and individuals who contact our office each year. To continue, we do need your help and support. A tax-deductible financial contribution will support direct legal, advocacy, and education services to families in Wisconsin.

Copyright © 2015 ABC for Health, Inc. All rights reserved. No reprint without permission.

HealthWatch Wisconsin is a project of ABC for Health, Inc.
Update Staff: