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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 12, 2024
Downtown Madison, WI
Downtown Madison, WI

City officials encourage Affordable Care Act signups before deadline

Despite looming uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the city of Madison is encouraging residents to sign up for health care under the federal law.

Madisonians have until Jan. 31 to purchase coverage under the ACA, popularly known as “Obamacare.” ACA signup after the deadline is only permitted if the enrollee has experienced certain life events, including marriage or having a child.

As the Trump administration takes control of the White House, though, the future of the ACA is unclear. Trump has repeatedly declared it is a “disaster,” and dismantling the law is high on the Republican-controlled Congress’ to-do list.

Americans are split on the law; a January Pew Research Center survey found 60 percent of Americans believe the government has a responsibility to make sure all U.S. citizens have health care coverage. If the ACA is repealed, experts estimate 18 million Americans could lose their insurance.

Still, Madison officials are urging residents to sign up for coverage.

“Regardless of the news stories and discussions about the future of the Affordable Care Act, we still encourage all eligible residents to sign up for health insurance before the end of the month,” said Jami Crespo, a policy analyst at Public Health Madison & Dane County, in a city of Madison release.

To make the sign-up process easier, the city is enlisting the help of Covering Wisconsin, a nonprofit agency. The organization’s certified “Navigators” will provide free enrollment assistance to Madison residents at multiple locations, including the Dane County Job Center and Centro Hispano. Appointments can be scheduled on their website at

Additionally, Covering Wisconsin will hold an enrollment assistance event Jan. 28 at the Meadowridge Public Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Most people enrolling in the Marketplace can find a plan with a premium of $80 or less,” said Adam VanSpankeren, the regional lead Navigator for Covering Wisconsin’s Madison office, in the release. “But the application process and looking at all the available plans can be intimidating. Navigators are here to help people make sense of their options to make the best choice for themselves and their families.”

Coverage will take effect March 1 for enrollees. Those who don’t sign up on time could face penalties under federal law for being uninsured.

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