By all accounts, the Healthy Michigan Plan Medicaid expansion has been a HUGE success. In its first year, 600,000 Michiganders have gotten health coverage. That's more than half a million people who now have health insurance.
That's the good news.
But the Healthy Michigan Plan happened, in part, because the federal government gave Michigan a two-year waiver for its implementation. In other words, HMP has a few criteria that are slightly different from traditional Medicaid, and the federal government had to approve those exceptions.
The State of Michigan has to apply for a new waiver by September 1, 2015. According to a recent post by the Michigan League for Public Policy:
The Healthy Michigan Plan law specifies that:
- The state must apply for a federal waiver by September 1, 2015, to:
- allow enrollees to choose a Marketplace plan (less comprehensive coverage and more cost) with federal subsidies after 48 months of cumulative enrollment in Healthy Michigan Plan.
- allow increased total cost sharing for enrollees between 100% ($11,770 for individual or $24,250 family of four) and 138% ($16,243 individual or $33,465 family of four) of the Federal Poverty Level to remain in the Healthy Michigan Plan after 48 cumulative months of enrollment. The current limit is 5% of family income, the state law requires an increase to 7% of family income, with the income-based payment increasing from the current 2% to 3.5% of family income, or
- The waiver must be approved by December 31, 2015 for the program to continue, not just for this subset of the program, but for all program enrollees.
- If the waiver is not approved, the program ends on April 30, 2016, TWO FULL YEARS BEFORE ANY HEALTHY MICHIGAN PLAN ENROLLEE COULD EVEN BE IMPACTED BY THE HIGHER COST SHARING.
What can you do? If you are one of the 600,000 people in the state who has the Healthy Michigan Plan, or if you are a family member or friend of one of those 600,000 people, and if the HMP coverage helped you--share your success story with your state and federal legislators!