MICHIGAN — 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 Tuesday.
There are now 800,794 people enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program.
“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,” Whitmer said in a statement. “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. 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, the state said in a news release.
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.
“Expanding access to health care coverage is one of MDHHS’s top priorities,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “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.