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Mayor Barrett Accepts White House ‘Healthy Communities Challenge’

November 13, 2015  

Mayor Tom Barrett responded to the White House “Healthy Communities Challenge” with a simple answer: Challenge accepted.

“Milwaukee accepts the ‘Healthy Communities Challenge’ with open arms,” said Mayor Barrett. “At the heart of this challenge is the health of our community. We know that improving access to health insurance is a key step to improving the health of individuals and our community.”

The “Healthy Communities Challenge” is a competition among 20 communities across the U.S. that have high numbers or percentages of Marketplace-eligible uninsured, and have community collaborations willing to make a meaningful impact. The winning community gets bragging rights, a healthier community and a visit from President Obama.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s uninsured rate stands at its lowest level ever. In Milwaukee County, there has been a 32 percent reduction in the uninsured rate. However, an estimated 80,000 individuals remain eligible for coverage, with 51,000 of those individuals eligible for the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment began Sunday, November 1, and runs through Sunday, January 31, 2016, but the deadline to sign up for coverage starting on New Year’s Day through has been extended to Thursday, December 17. If someone chooses not to buy health insurance and could afford to do so, they are at risk of paying a $695 fee or more. Meanwhile, most people can get coverage via the Health Insurance Marketplace for less than $75 a month after tax credits.

Mayor Barrett and health officials have stepped up outreach efforts and will continue to coordinate with the Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN), a consortium of partners supporting the enrollment of eligible individuals in public or private insurance.

These outreach efforts include advertisements on local billboards, bus exteriors and both traditional and internet radio.

Assisters are available throughout the area, including daily through the City of Milwaukee Health Department Community Healthcare Access Program. The Health Department is also tasking their food inspectors with providing enrollment flyers to each restaurant they visit.

Other City departments are also working to enroll more Milwaukee residents, including the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), Milwaukee Water Works, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) and the Community Development Grants Administration. These combined outreach efforts include contacting residents about enrollment opportunities, providing information on Open Enrollment to their customers and distributing enrollment flyers throughout Milwaukee neighborhoods.

For example, Milwaukee Water Works is including information about Open Enrollment on residents’ water bills to continue increasing the number of individuals in the City with health coverage.

Trained application assisters and special computer labs are available weekly at the following Milwaukee Public Library locations:


4-7 p.m.

Center Street Library (2727 W. Fond du Lac Ave.)


4:30-7:30 p.m.

Forest Home Library (1432 W. Forest Home Ave.)


1:30-5:30 p.m.

Zablocki Library (3501 W. Oklahmona Ave.)


10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Washington Park Library (2121 N. Sherman Blvd.)

Anyone in need of free, in-person assistance is encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to find a trained assister near you.

Together, we are building a healthier Milwaukee. 

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Contact Us

City Hall
200 E. Wells Street
Room 201
Milwaukee, WI 53202  

(414) 286-CITY (2489)

Mayor Tom Barrett photo  


Tom Barrett


Phone: 414-286-2200
Fax: 414-286-3191 

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