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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More than 1.6 million lose medical coverage in Michigan in decade

Michigan led the nation in the number of workers who lost medical coverage from their jobs between 1999 and last year, a study released Tuesday (9.17) found.
In 1999-2000, 76 percent of Michigan’s under-65 population was covered by employer-sponsored insurance. However, that number fell to 62.5 percent of the workforce as 1.6 million state workers lost employee-sponsored coverage.
“Fewer and fewer employers offer insurance,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, a research and advocacy entity.
“Right now, when hardworking people lose their job-based coverage, most have nowhere else to turn,” Jacobs said. “The good news is that the Affordable Care Act will make a difference, offering lower cost medical care to folks who otherwise would have to seek expensive emergency room care and making affordable health insurance available to those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.’’
Michigan became the 25th state to expand eligibility for Medicaid on Monday when Gov. Rick Snyder signed HB 4714.
Two major provisions of the Affordable Care Act will dramatically reduce the number of uninsured Michigan residents, starting in 2014.
First, an estimated 470,000 uninsured people in Michigan are expected to gain health insurance coverage through the state’s acceptance of federal funds to expand Medicaid.
And, starting on Oct. 1, 2013, those in Michigan who can’t get affordable health insurance through their jobs but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid can sign up for coverage for 2014 through the state’s new Health insurance Marketplace.
Many people will be eligible for new federal subsidies to help them pay their premiums and reduce their out-of-pocket health costs. More than 1 million Michigan residents are expected to gain coverage through the Marketplace, Jacobs said.
“Health reform means that all Michigan families will have the security and peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health insurance,” Jacobs said. “That’s good for our state’s families, businesses, communities, and economy.”

Jerry Wolffe is the advocate-at-large/writer-in-residence at The Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.

 

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