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Gov. Whitmer’s Healthy Michigan Plan tops 800,000 enrollees for first time

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provides an update on coronavirus in Michigan during a May 26, 2020, press briefing. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich (WLNS). – The Healthy Michigan Plan is now providing health care coverage to more than 800,000 low-income residents for the first time, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today. 

There are now 800,794 people enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program. 

“Now, with the Affordable Care Act under constant attack in the courts, it’s more important than ever that we protect Healthy Michigan and ensure care for families across the state,” Governor Whitmer said. “Repealing the law would put Michiganders’ lives at risk and hurt our economy. I will continue working with everyone who wants to protect and expand health care for Michiganders.”  

COVID-19 affected the finances and health of so many Michiganders that the number of Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries jumped from just under 682,000 in late March to more than 800,000 six months later.

Michigan instituted policies to help families access affordable health care coverage such as deciding to avoid terminating Healthy Michigan Plan coverage and freeze premiums for as long as the COVID-19 public health emergency exists. The state was able to qualify for additional Medicaid funding from the federal government through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

The department has also worked to streamline the application process over the past few years to ensure people eligible to receive benefits are able to access them without unnecessary burdensome requirements.  

Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have strongly supported the Healthy Michigan Plan. When she was State Senate Democratic leader, Whitmer helped pass the bipartisan legislation that created the Healthy Michigan Plan, which was enacted in April 2014. 

In March, Whitmer and MDHHS preserved Healthy Michigan Plan coverage for tens of thousands of people by supporting swift action on the legal challenge of work requirements that had been adopted by the Republican Legislature. Policies like work requirements that take away health insurance undermine the purpose of Medicaid which is to provide health care coverage to low income and vulnerable populations.   

“Expanding access to health care coverage is one of MDHHS’s top priorities,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “The Healthy Michigan Plan has been a huge success by improving health outcomes for thousands of Michiganders. Our residents are healthier and our state is more productive when people have health insurance.”   

Healthy Michigan Plan coverage is available to Michiganders ages 19-64 years old who have an income at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level – or $16,971 annually for a single person – and meet other eligibility requirements, such as not qualifying for other Medicaid programs. Expanded Medicaid plans are allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act if states decide to implement them. 

According to 2017 research from the University of Michigan, the Healthy Michigan Plan more than doubled primary care usage, reduced enrollees’ reliance on the emergency room by 58 percent, cut uncompensated care by nearly 50 percent, and added $2.3 billion to our state’s economy.  

Apply for the Healthy Michigan Plan at www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling the Michigan HealthCare Helpline at 855-789-5610. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/HealthyMiPlan

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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