Wisconsin BadgerCare Coverage For Poor Employed By Biggest Firms

The state's health care insurance for the working poor covers employees at some of Wisconsin's biggest companies.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's review of state figures shows the ten companies with the most employees enrolled in BadgerCare cost taxpayers nearly 6.5 million dollars a year.

State officials are concerned that big companies are looking for ways to cut soaring health care costs, so they make it harder and more expensive for employees to get coverage. That means more of the working poor turn to state-sponsored health insurance.

BadgerCare provides health care coverage to workers whose income is too high for Medicaid, which helps the elderly, disabled and poor.

The biggest employer of those receiving BadgerCare is Wal-Mart. It has more than 1,200 employees and dependents enrolled in the program. Providing health care for those people cost state taxpayers about 2.7 million dollars a year. Wal-Mart had a profit of ten billion dollars in 2004.