Medicaid expansion opens in Michigan

Who is covered, how to apply


The Healthy Michigan Plan is this state's answer to Medicaid expansion.

It's another way to expand health care coverage, especially for people who don't qualify for traditional Medicaid, but who might struggle to pay premiums on their own insurance.

"We have found out that when people have health insurance they're healthier. We don't want people to go to emergency rooms to receive their health care," said James Haveman, Director of Michigan Department of Community Health.

State health leaders hope getting more people covered will eliminate unpaid hospital bills and cut health care costs for all of us.

Who's Covered?

"I need the health insurance!" said Charlie Thomas as he left a Department of Human Services center in Detroit. Without health insurance, he doesn't go to the doctor much.

"I gotta go to the doctor cause I don't know if anything's wrong with me or not. So, in order for me to get it, I gotta do this." he told Ruth to the Rescue.

Here are some fast facts about the Healthy Michigan Plan.

*It will cover Michigan residents ages 19 to 64, who are not on Medicare or traditional Medicaid.
*It will cover people who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which translates to $16,000 a year for a single person or $33,000 for a family of four.
*Participants will have some cost-sharing responsibilities. You will need to pay 2 percent of annual income. You will face co-pays consistent with current Medicaid program requirements.
*The total cost sharing will not exceed 5 percent of your annual household income.

How To Apply

If you think you qualify, you should ask more questions about all the rules and requirements of the program. State health leaders have tried to come up with a program that will be able to handle the influx of new customers. The state expects to sign up about 322,000 people by the end of the year, and 570,000 by 2016.

"We've learned a lot from some of the missteps that went on at the federal level," said James Haveman, Director of Michigan Department of Community Health.

The state says all its systems are ready to go and have been functioning well. Officials also say they're ready to respond to any reports of technical issues.

"We have rapid response teams available...There are calls twice a day to figure out if we are having glitches," said Maura Corrigan, Director of Michigan Department of Human Services.

The Department is encouraging people to sign up on line. The website is www.HealthyMichiganPlan.org.

You can also call by phone at 855-789-5610.

Or, you can go to your local office of the Department of Human Services, where people are ready to help you sign up. There is no deadline to sign up for this coverage. If you sign up before the end of April, the coverage is retroactive to April 1st. The same applies for every month down the line, if you sign up in May, coverage is retroactive to May 1.

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