The Healthy Michigan Plan, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion, opened for enrollment on April 1, and within the first 72 hours, 36,329 applications were submitted through the MIBridges website and 20,995 were approved for coverage. By Tuesday, the number of enrolled shot up to 59,280 — an amazing number for a two-week period. That means that more than 109,000 people are now covered, including those who were transferred over to the plan from the Adult Benefits Waiver program.
The program is off to a great start — great news for Michigan’s low-income uninsured. The online enrollment system is working well with the majority of applications being processed in a matter of minutes or even seconds.
The Department is urging applicants to use the website, if possible, due to the quick response time. However, applications can also be made in person at a local Department of Human Services offices or by phone.
Unlike the Health Insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) there is no defined enrollment period for the Healthy Michigan Plan. It is open all year.
The Healthy Michigan Plan provides comprehensive coverage to low-income uninsured Michiganians with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level.
Most Healthy Michigan Plan participants will select a managed care plan to receive their care. Participants will have access to a broad range of services including preventive services as well as the services needed to keep chronic conditions, such as diabetes, under control.
My colleague, Judy Putnam, recently had the opportunity to chat with a low-income worker who had just gained coverage under the Healthy Michigan Plan.
A caterer by trade, Connie Rush, 50, of Ann Arbor, said he has not been able to afford health insurance for many years — even working multiple jobs. Rush said he is healthy but at an age where he needs to check on such things as cholesterol and blood sugar levels and blood pressure. The Healthy Michigan Plan will allow him preventive care he didn’t have before.
“Instead of not going to a doctor, I will go to a doctor,” Rush said. “At least I know if I do go to a doctor, I’m covered. It’s less stress, definitely.”
He added: “At last I have a safety net. I am very happy that this opened up.”
– Jan Hudson