400,000 reasons to give thanks

Added November 5th, 2014 by Gilda Z. Jacobs | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Gilda Z. Jacobs
From the First Tuesday newsletter
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As we head into the month of November, there are more than 400,000 reasons to give thanks.

That’s how many previously uninsured or underinsured people in Michigan are now able to access healthcare thanks to the Healthy Michigan Plan.

The plan passed the Michigan Legislature last year with bipartisan support as part of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. About half the states have taken this step to improve the health of their citizens.

The League was part of a strong, diverse coalition that supported the expansion. Those efforts are now bearing an amazing amount of fruit.

In just six months, enrollment exceeded the first-year expectations.

Just how phenomenal this is in Michigan is evident in the League’s latest interactive map. On the map below, hover your mouse over a county. You will find an estimate of the uninsured and how many people signed up for the Healthy Michigan Plan in just the first six months. In all, more than 400,000 have enrolled.

In some counties, there are more enrolled than previously thought were uninsured! While some of these may have had limited insurance and were really underinsured, it’s a good benchmark to gauge the level of tremendous need.

Genesee County is particularly notable with a large number of its residents joining the plan.

The Affordable Care Act is indeed the gift that keeps on giving. Besides offering comprehensive healthcare coverage to thousands of low-income adults, many of them holding full-time jobs, the Affordable Care Act has offered many positive benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Nearly 273,000 in Michigan have signed up for insurance through the Marketplace. Enrollment begins again Nov. 15.
  • There are 94,000 young adults in Michigan benefiting from the provision that allows parents to keep their children on their plans until they turn 26 years old.
  • A requirement that health insurance companies spend 80 cents or more of premiums on healthcare or improvements to healthcare, or give the money back, resulted in $13.2 million in rebates to more than 184,000 in Michigan in 2013. The average refund was $118 per family. Since implementation in 2011, rebates to Michigan consumers have exceeded $45 million.
  • Most insurers can no longer deny coverage for a pre-existing condition, benefiting 4.4 million nonelderly in Michigan with some type of health condition.

With so many more in Michigan accessing preventive care, it means that good health is a goal within reach for those enrolling in the Healthy Michigan Plan.

The success of this program to date is indeed a reason to celebrate.

— Gilda Z. Jacobs

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