Thursday, March 20, 2014

Must enroll in Healthy Michigan by April 1

Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Community Health Thursday announced that the state’s Healthy Michigan Plan is prepared to begin accepting applications on April 1, 2014, ultimately providing healthcare coverage to nearly half a million more Michigan residents.

“This is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to ensure the health and wellbeing of all Michiganders,” Snyder said in a press release. “A healthier Michigan is an important part of our state’s continued comeback. It will help improve health and quality of life, save money for taxpayers and job providers and boost our economy. I appreciate the support of our legislative partners in this initiative and the tremendous work of our departments of Community Health, Human Services and Technology, Management and Budget to help ensure all systems are go and there’s a smooth enrollment process. I encourage eligible residents to mark the date and go online, call or visit a local DHS office on or after April 1.”

The Healthy Michigan Plan was signed into law by the governor on Sept. 16, 2013. Since then, MDCH staff has worked closely with the federal government and Michigan partners to get the necessary information technology, federal approval, and program operations in place.

Beginning April 1, Michigan residents will be able to apply for the Healthy Michigan Plan online, by phone, or in person at their local Michigan Department of Human Services office to quickly and easily determine if they are eligible.

In the first year, the Healthy Michigan Plan is anticipated to cover 320,000 Michiganders, eventually providing care for 470,000. The plan emphasizes personal responsibility and beneficiaries will be required to share in the costs. There also will be incentives for individuals to take responsibility for their lifestyle choices and to maintain or improve their health. Applicants for the Healthy Michigan Plan must be between the ages of 19-64, not currently eligible for Medicaid, not eligible for or enrolled in Medicare, and earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $16,000 for single person and $33,000 for a family of four).

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