Healthy Michigan Plan enrollment opens April 1

The Department of Community Health has announced open enrollment will begin for the Healthy Michigan Plan on April 1. This long-awaited announcement is great news for Michigan’s low-income uninsured residents.

Starting next week, adults (ages 19-64) in families with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level (up to $15,521 for an individual or $31,721 for a family of four) who are not currently eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and not pregnant, will be able to apply for the comprehensive coverage offered by the Healthy Michigan Plan. Citizenship, or lawful admittance to the U.S., is also required. (more…)

Exhausted but inspired

I recently returned from Health Action 2014, Families USA’s annual conference, in my usual condition – exhausted yet inspired! It was a good year for Michigan: Dizzy Warren, of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, was awarded one of the three Advocate of the Year awards, and Michigan blogger Amy Lynn Smith won the painting created onsite by Regina Holliday!

The conference opened with a cancer survivor sharing her story of having her COBRA coverage end on Dec. 31, 2013 during her cancer treatment. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she was able to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1 and continue her treatments uninterrupted. (more…)

Healthy Michigan Plan moves forward

Great news to start the year! The federal government Monday approved Michigan’s request to expand Medicaid eligibility through a new program, the Healthy Michigan Plan.

This action brings Michigan one step closer to providing comprehensive coverage to Michigan’s low-income, uninsured residents.

It has been a long, tough road to get to this point. (more…)

1.5 million lose health insurance in Michigan

Michigan continued its dubious No. 1 ranking in the nation for having the highest number of people — workers and their family members — lose their employer-sponsored healthcare coverage, according to a recent report released by the Economic Policy Institute.

According to the report, more than 1.5 million Michiganians lost their coverage over the period 2000-2001 to 2011-2012. Ohio was right behind Michigan with 1.4 million Ohioans losing coverage. (more…)

Affordable Care Act works even if the website doesn’t

Amid all the reports of problems with the launch of, the new federal health insurance Marketplace website – and there have been big problems – it is important to be reminded of the opportunity and security that the Affordable Care Act is providing.

A recently released report concludes: “In short, the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for much less money.” (more…)

Marketplace coverage is affordable

We all need access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage so that we can make responsible healthcare decisions to take care of ourselves and our families. Access to unprecedented opportunities will become available when the problems that have plagued the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace are resolved – and they will be resolved.

Affordable coverage is made possible by the advance premium tax credits available to those with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level – $23,550 to $94,200 for a family of four, and the cost-sharing subsidies available to those who purchase a silver-level plan with incomes between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level – $23,550 and $58,875 for a family of four. (more…)

Focusing on the bigger picture

With all the attention paid to the launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace on Oct. 1, it’s easy for other benefits of the Affordable Care Act to get lost in the shuffle.

My colleague, Senior Policy Analyst Jan Hudson, highlighted them in a viewpoint published Sunday in the Lansing State Journal.

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will indeed help the uninsured. Many of them work hard for low wages and no benefits. Expanding Medicaid and offering subsidies based on income are clearly the right things to do. (more…)

Good news on health insurance costs

Michigan’s average cost for the gold, silver and bronze health insurance plans that will be sold in the Health Insurance Marketplace came in below the national average, according to a report released by the federal government today.

This is very good news for uninsured Michiganians, who will soon have the opportunity to shop for, compare, and enroll in quality healthcare coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace, set to open next Tuesday.

The report summarizes health plan choices and premiums expected to be available in the marketplaces for states that will have a fully federally run marketplace and for those that are partnering with the federal government. Michigan will have a federally operated marketplace and is expected to have an average of 43 plan options for purchasers to consider. (more…)

Fewer uninsured kids in Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Number of Michigan kids without insurance has dropped since 2000
Affordable Care Act could bring similar gains for adults

LANSING, Mich. — The number of children without health insurance in Michigan fell dramatically between 2000 and 2012 from more than 158,000 to just over 100,000, according to Census Bureau data released today. These gains were largely due to the success of Medicaid, which covered 255,000 more children in the state over the past decade.

The trend among children contrasts sharply with that of adults. More than 1.1 million people were uninsured in Michigan in 2011-2012, according to the new data, driven by the most dramatic decline in employer-sponsored insurance in the nation. In 1999-2000, 76 percent of Michigan’s under-65 population was covered by employer-sponsored insurance, falling to 62.5 percent in 2011-2012. Nearly 1.6 million in Michigan lost employer-sponsored insurance over the decade, the biggest drop in numbers in the country. (more…)

A miracle in Dearborn

DEARBORN, Mich. – While acknowledging that a big job still lies ahead implementing the Affordable Care Act in Michigan, dozens of lawmakers, advocates, small business owners, hospital officials and patients gathered at Oakwood Hospital to celebrate the signing of House Bill 4714, which expands Medicaid eligibility.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation, making Michigan the 25th state to embrace Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. It will help an estimated 470,000 uninsured adults in the Mitten State. (more…)

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