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getting health care

Access to health care means that people can receive and benefit from needed health care services. Public Health Madison & Dane County works to remove barriers that make it hard for many people to get health care.

Getting health care coverage (health insurance)

  • Having health care coverage is key to getting the health care you might need. Without it, you could end up with huge bills and a penalty when you file your income taxes.

  • If you can get good, affordable coverage through your job or spouse's job, you should take it. If you don't, you may not be eligible for certain other options.

  • Are you under 26 years old? You can stay on your parent's insurance, but you might be eligible for BadgerCare Plus or your own Marketplace plan that would save money.

  • BadgerCare Plus is Medicaid for low income citizens and qualified immigrants, up to age 65. Children and pregnant women are eligible at higher income levels. To find out if anyone in your family is eligible and to apply at any time, call 1-888-794-5556 or go to ACCESS.
    • BadgerCare Plus - Wisconsin's Connection to Health Care Coverage, WDHS English (PDF) | Español (PDF)

  • Marketplace insurance plans and discounts ("Obamacare")
    Local health insurance companies offer plans through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Most people get federal discounts to lower the cost. You can reach the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 or at
    • You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident who is not eligible for government health care coverage (such as Medicare or Medicaid). People with good, affordable insurance through an employer might not be eligible for the discounts.
    • Sign up for 2018 plans November 1st - December 15th. (Some people can sign up after that–call 1-800-318-2596 or check out this Marketplace video.)
    • Free help to sign up is available at the Public Health Madison & Dane County office located at 2705 East Washington Avenue in Madison. For an appointment, call Covering Wisconsin at (608) 261-1455. For a list of other locations and events, call 2-1-1 or go to Covering Wisconsin | Get Local Help with Health Insurance and Using Care.
    • United Way of Dane County Health Connect is a local program that helps low income Dane County residents pay for certain Marketplace plans.

  • Health Insurance Options 2018: English (PDF) | Español (PDF)

  • Health care coverage for seniors and people with disabilities
    Call the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County for information and help to apply: (608) 240-7400.

  • Children's long-term support services
    Compass Wisconsin: Threshold assists families to apply for all available benefits for children with special health care needs. Call (608) 692-2865 or go to

Dealing with health care coverage issues and bills

  • If you have questions about what is covered, call your health insurance company. The number should be on your insurance wallet card.

  • If you can't afford out-of-pocket costs, ask your doctor or hospital about their financial assistance programs.

  • The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County provides free information and assistance to older adults and people with disabilities.
    Call (608) 240-7400 or go to ADRC.

  • ABC for Health provides legal assistance to people who have problems with health insurance or medical bills. Call (608) 261-6939 or go to ABC for Health Can Help.

Getting health care services

  • Finding a primary care doctor
    • Your insurance company (HMO) can tell you which doctors are covered and taking new patients.
    • You can also call medical clinics directly. If you need help to find clinic locations and phone numbers, you can call United Way 2-1-1 (dial 2-1-1).

  • If you need an interpreter, tell the clinic when you make your appointment.

  • Mental health services and medications
    • Ask your primary care doctor
    • Call your insurance company to find out where to go
    • Recovery Dane referral service: (608) 237-1661
    • Journey Mental Health Center: 625 W. Washington Avenue, Madison, (608) 280-2720

  • Low-cost dental care options in Dane County

  • Lower cost prescriptions
    • Ask your primary care doctor
    • St. Vincent's Charitable Pharmacy, 2033 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison. Call (608) 257-0919 to ask about their hours.

  • Community support and long term care
    The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County connects older adults and people with disabilities to the services they need. Call (608) 240-7400.

Free and lower cost medical clinics and programs in Dane County

  • Access Community Health Centers: (608) 443-5480 Medical and dental clinics in south Madison, east Madison and Sun Prairie.

  • MEDiC clinics (staffed by UW medical students and faculty): (608) 265-4972 Several locations including 2202 S. Park Street, Madison Saturdays, 8 am to 1 pm - First come, first served.

  • Our Lady of Hope Clinic: (608) 819-8544, 6425 Odana Road, Madison, WI 53719

  • Shalom Holistic Health Services: (608) 205-0505 For adults in the Stoughton School District; Thursday evenings.

  • Health care for children without insurance
    • PAK program for Madison students - ask your school nurse
    • Access Community Health Centers: (608) 443-5480

  • Planned Parenthood
    Madison South: 2222 S. Park Street, Suite 210, (608) 251-6546
    Madison East: 3706 Orin Road, Madison, WI 53704, (608) 241-3767

  • Concentra
    • Services include occupational health care East: 1619 N. Stoughton Road, Madison, (608) 244-1213 West: 358 Junction Road, Madison, (608) 829-1888

  • Wisconsin Well Woman Program: (608) 242-6385
    A FREE breast and cervical cancer screening program for women ages 45-64

  • Public Health STI Clinic: (608) 243-0411
    • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes or genital warts) Mondays 12 pm-3 pm; Wednesdays 3 pm-6 pm; Fridays 9 am-12 pm
    • Free or low cost for anyone under 19 years old, uninsured adults or adults with BadgerCare Plus/Medicaid; $102 for adults with health insurance and those who live outside of Dane County.