Minimum Wage is Rising! Will Your Insurance Options Change? Find Out About Special Enrollment Period Magic!

Friday, January 1, 2016, Michigan's minimum wage rose from $8.15/hour to $8.50/hour. Next January, 2017, it will go up to $8.90/hour, and the year after that, it will rise to $9.25/hour.

Minimum wage laws across the U.S. Source: US Department of Labor

Minimum wage laws across the U.S. Source: US Department of Labor

If you are a person struggling to get by on a minimum wage job, this is excellent news--but for single adults working close to 40 hours a week, it may mean that you are no longer going to be eligible for Medicaid. Currently, the income cap for a single person for Medicaid is $1,354/month (gross income), or $16,243/year. 

At $8.15/hour, a minimum wage worker would hit the Medicaid income cap if they averaged over 38.5 hours/week. But at $8.50/hour, that same worker could only work 37 hours/week, on average.

Average Weekly Hours A Single Person Could Work And Be Eligible for the Healthy Michigan Plan

In 2015 dollars, the maximum income for a single adult to qualify for the Healthy Michigan Plan is $1354/month or $16,243/year.

If you have had Medicaid, and you are getting a raise (for any reason--perhaps a promotion?!), then be prepared that you may no longer be eligible for Medicaid.  You may be over income. [For a fuller explanation of income guidelines for various types of Medicaid, visit this page.]

If you are going to be over income for Medicaid, don't panic. 

First of all, it's possible that you aren't over income for Medicaid at all. Under Michigan Medicaid policy, income can be calculated on a monthly or annual basis. If you work a job where you work a lot of hours at certain times of year, and much less at other times of the year (say you are a lifeguard or a teacher's aide), you may be able to use the annual assessment of income, which allows you to even out high-income and low-income parts of the year. 

Events that will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. 

Events that will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. 

But if you are over income for Medicaid, then most of the time you will be eligible either for the Marketplace or for employer insurance. What, you say? But it's March now, and Open Enrollment ended in January?

When Medicaid ends, you will have 60 days to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period through the Marketplace or at least 30 days through an employer's insurance. So Keep Calm, and Enroll On!  Seriously, if you need some guidance, give us a call year-round at (734) 544-3030.

--R. Kraut

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