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Badger Care

Adults with income under 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL), as well as pregnant women and most children up to 300% FPL, are eligible for Badger Care (Medicaid in Wisconsin) and they may apply at any time throughout the year. Many low income adults without dependent children are unaware that they are now eligible.

People with income below or slightly above those levels should apply for Badger Care and other benefits at:

  • Call the Capital Consortium (Dane County Department of Human Services) at 1-888-794-5556.

HealthConnect – Additional Help to Pay for Health Insurance

Dane County residents with household income under 150% FPL who signed up for a cost-sharing silver plan through the Marketplace are probably eligible for additional help to pay their monthly premiums. They should call United Way of Dane County at 2-1-1 and ask about HealthConnect.

Getting a Marketplace Plan After the Open Enrollment Period

People can still sign up for health coverage through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace plan for 60 days after certain "qualifying events" or special circumstances.

Sign up at:

Cognosante (phone 608-826-7309), a federally-funded organization that provides in-person enrollment assistance, will continue to help Dane County residents to sign up throughout the year.

Next Open Enrollment Period

For everyone else who needs coverage, the next open enrollment period to sign up for insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace will be November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. Most people are eligible for financial assistance to help lower their costs.


If people are disabled, they should apply for Social Security disability, which includes health coverage. They should call the Social Security office at 866-770-2262. The Dane County Aging and Disability Resource Center (phone 608-240-7400) provides assistance with that process.

Health Coverage for Immigrants and Refugees

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For over three decades, Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (CAC) has been the leading supporter of the grassroots community garden movement in Madison and Dane County. With origins in anti-poverty strategies, CAC has supported garden maintenance and expansion in neighborhoods with high proportions of low-income families.

A discussion paper, prepared by Public Health Madison & Dane County in collaboration with CAC staff, identifies key considerations and opportunities to strengthen and sustain community gardens as one component of a comprehensive approach to improving community health.

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There are now 12 permanent MedDrop sites across Dane County to get rid of unwanted and unused medicines in a safe and environmentally manner. Between July 2012 and May 2013, MedDrop collected 18,870 pounds or 4.4 tons of medications from the MedDrop sites and delivered them to a hazardous waste incinerator in Sauget IL, to ensure complete destruction.

Why Get Rid of Unused Medications

In Dane County, poisoning is the leading cause of injury death and the rates have dramatically increased over the past decade, surpassing motor vehicle crashes. There is also a concern for poisoning related hospital visits. The majority of these poisonings are due to prescription, over-the-counter, and illicit drugs. In addition, there are over three thousand people a year that visit the hospital for abuse and dependence of drugs.

Drug poisoning can occur when consumed by children and others, but unwanted medications are also used deliberately for non-medical reasons. Therefore, it is important to securely store medicines away from family and friends and get rid of expired and unused medicines. MedDrop is a key strategy to reduce access to drugs.

County-Wide Efforts to Reduce Access to Drugs

Safe Communities is leading a county-wide Drug Poisoning Initiative: Stop the Drug Overdose Epidemic, which is supported by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, County Executive Joe Parisi and many other community partners, including Public Health. More information on this important initiative can be found at:

Other Resources