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Abele may drop health insurance for Milwaukee County employees

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Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — FOX6 News has learned Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is considering dropping the current health insurance for all Milwaukee County employees — and is looking into having the County’s more than 4,000 employees covered through the Affordable Care Act.

Online marketplaces for the Affordable Care Act open on Tuesday, October 1st. These online marketplaces will allow millions of Americans to shop for and purchase health insurance coverage in one place.

Consumers will be able to find out whether they qualify for premium assistance and compare plans side-by-side based on pricing, quality and benefits.

No one can be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition.

October 1 marks the beginning of a six-month long open enrollment period that runs through March 2014.

Coverage begins as early as January 1st.

Abele says he will only drop the current health insurance plan if coverage via the Affordable Care Act would be equal to or better than the County’s current health insurance plan — and if it would save taxpayers money.

Abele says that if this turns out to be the case, Abele’s 2014 budget has provisions for that health insurance money to be funneled through other programs.

Abele says he plans to look at the numbers on Tuesday, when charges to states participating in the Affordable Care Act are supposed to be released — pending a potential government shutdown.

“There may be a strong possibility that we could offer better care than we do now. If we could get them the same level of care or better and save money, we would do that. It could impact thousands of employees and could save millions,” Abele said.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin says the law was never intended to do this.

A spokesman says large employers are supposed to provide coverage and not rely on the exchanges. Dropping coverage for County employees could lead to penalties if Abele’s plan were to go into place.

“If it doesn’t work out, that’s alright. We’ve got a budget that does not raise taxes,” Abele said.