GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WFRV) Starting this Monday, big healthcare changes are coming for families with children.
Public health departments will be closing their doors to children (birth through 18) seeking immunizations. This applies to those who have health insurance that covers vaccines.
Tax dollars will only be used to supply immunizations to the following groups of people:
enrolled in Medicaid (Badgercare)
has no health insurance coverage (uninsured)
has insurance that doesn't cover vaccines (underinsured)
Native American or Alaskan American
A modification in federal policy is the reason for the change.
Health officials are concerned the switch in policy will cause immunization numbers to drop.
"On the short term, as people get used to this situation, you may see some issues as far as not being able to access on a regular basis or a slight drop in rates," noted Dan Hopfensperger, the Director of Wisconsin Immunization Program.
There is one exception to the rule, however. Because Wisconsin is in the middle of a widespread whooping cough outbreak, anyone can go to their local health department for state-supplied pertussis vaccines, whether they have insurance coverage or not.
Hopfensperger says if you do go to your private health care provider to receive immunizations, deductibles or co pays do not apply because it is considered a preventative service.
Anyone going to the public health department will first go through a screening process to make sure they qualify.