NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Uninsured In Wisconsin

March 26, 1999

Wisconsin has the second-highest percentage of its population covered by health insurance of the 50 states, says a new study from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. However, the medically uninsured are still a problem in Milwaukee County -- the state's most populous area.

  • Statewide, 91.4 percent of the population has health insurance.
  • In Milwaukee County the percentage of uninsured is estimated to be around 14 percent.
  • Given the range around the estimate, there are said to be between 113,000 and 144,000 medically uninsured individuals in Milwaukee County, 82 percent of whom live in the city of Milwaukee.

But unlike the common image of the indigent, the medically uninsured population is not largely the poor or minorities.

  • In fact, 46 percent of the uninsured have incomes equal to or above two times the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or at least $26,660 for a family of three.
  • An additional 34 percent have incomes equal to the FPL or up to 200 percent of the FPL -- between $13,330 and $26,659.
  • And at least 41 percent of them are white.

Despite the booming economy, say experts, the number of medically uninsured has been increasing. Attempting to address this issue, Milwaukee County, with state support, has created a program called the General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP) that is designed to provide health care to the truly indigent -- defined, for example, as those with less than a monthly income of $840 for a single individual or $1,240 for a family of three. However, the program is expected to serve only a fraction of those without health insurance.

Source: Sammis White, "The Medically Uninsured In Milwaukee: Current Problem and Future Crisis," Wisconsin Research Institute Report, March 1999, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, P.O. Box 487, Thiensville, Wis. 53092, (414) 241-0514.


Browse more articles on Health Issues