Gov. Whitmer announces Healthy Michigan Plan tops 850,000 enrollees

Coronavirus

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces a task force to encourage Michigan residents to get the COVID-19 vaccines during a Dec. 10, 2020, press conference in Lansing. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich. – The Healthy Michigan Plan is now providing health care coverage to more than 850,000 low-income residents for the first time, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today.  

There are now 853,211 people enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program.  

“Every Michigander deserves quality, affordable health care, especially during a pandemic. As Senate Democratic Leader, I was proud to work across the aisle with a Republican governor and legislature to expand health coverage for Michiganders through the Healthy Michigan plan,” said Governor Whitmer. “Now, as we continue working to eradicate COVID-19 and with the Affordable Care Act under constant attack in the courts, it’s more important than ever that we protect the Healthy Michigan plan and ensure health care for Michiganders across the state. 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 850,000 now. 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 qualified for additional Medicaid funding from the federal government through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) 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 (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.    

“MDHHS is committed to expanding access to health care coverage for Michiganders,  

said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “I’m proud that Michigan has been able to provide this coverage to hundreds of thousands of our residents. Coverage has improved their health outcomes – and when people are healthier they are better able to take care of their families and our state is more productive.”  

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.  

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