On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bipartisan bill that allows the state of Wisconsin flexibility in order to maximize available federal funding as it responds to COVID-19. The bill now awaits consideration in the Senate.
The one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits is eliminated and applies retroactively for claims made after March 12th, 2020. This change remains in effect through February 7th, 2021. As a result, those who are out of work will be able to maximize their access to federal relief. The bill also ensures the state receives enhanced Medicaid funding throughout the duration of the federal public health emergency. As more people are out of work they may need to access Medicaid coverage.
The bill addresses several other items that are highlighted below:
- Allows the budget committee to use up to $75 million to address future challenges caused by COVID-19
- Bars health insurance coverage discrimination based on a COVID-19 diagnosis
- Requires health insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without a patient co-pay
- Enables SeniorCare to include coverage for vaccinations
- Eases licensing requirements for medical professionals
- Permits pharmacists to extend prescriptions during the public health emergency
- Provides flexibility to school districts to complete the school year online
- Requires the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to submit a plan to support industries impacted by the pandemic
“The passage of this bill will provide more certainty as we navigate through these truly unprecedented times,” Representative Bob Kulp, 69th Assembly District, said in a message. “This legislation was drafted through bipartisan negotiations, advanced out of the Assembly with bipartisan support, and now awaits consideration in the Senate. The Senate is set to meet tomorrow. We are working diligently to deliver relief for the people of Wisconsin.”