Healthy Michigan Plan

Four Reasons (Aside From The Work Requirement) To Ask Governor Snyder To Veto The Medicaid Work Requirements Bill

As if the Medicaid work requirements, discussed more fully in our last blog post, are not enough, there are four other problems with the Medicaid Work Requirements bill, also known as SB 897. This analysis quotes a FamiliesUSA blog post, written by Eliot Fishman, Senior Director of Health Policy. Read his full blog post here.

Read the House Fiscal Agency Legislative Analysis here. You can find a lot of the details in the House Fiscal Agency Legislative Analysis.

As Fishman notes:  

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1. The Bill Gives the Trump Administration and Washington Bureaucrats the Power to Kill the Healthy Michigan Program: As of now, with the Affordable Care Act surviving in Congress, the only people who can take Healthy Michigan coverage away or Michiganders and their state officials. But the new bill gives the Federal government one year to approve Michigan’s waiver request or the Healthy Michigan program goes away, leaving all of its enrollees with no health insurance...
2. The Bill Includes a Bizarrely Punitive Premium for Near-Poor Working People: People with incomes just over the poverty line come in for particularly harsh treatment in the bill. Anyone with an income between 100% and 138% of the poverty level for four years or more are forced to pay 5% of their income—far higher than any premium in Medicaid in any other state—or lose their coverage. This would create a strong incentive to REDUCE income to under the poverty line...
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3. The Bill Would Lock People Out of Coverage for a Year for Paperwork Discrepancies: The bill creates a broad mandate on Michigan Medicaid to take coverage away from people in the Healthy Michigan program for a year if they are found to have “misrepresented their compliance” in required monthly reporting of their work hours...
4. The Bill Creates a Crazy, Rushed Timeline for the Snyder Administration to Write and Submit a Waiver: The Snyder administration is required to submit a waiver to the Trump administration by October 1, 2018.  But federal and state law require the waiver to be submitted for public and tribal consultation starting 60 days before federal submission—so no later than the end of July. That gives Michigan Medicaid just a few weeks to lay out their plans to implement this complex mess of a bill.

You can ask Governor Snyder to veto this bill. Contact Governor Snyder here.

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The new MIBridges! Applying for benefits gets prettier. (And better.)

It's here!  The new MIBridges website is an upgrade worth checking out. [You may want to bookmark michigan.gov/mibridges.] Although there are still a few bugs, if you are eligible for public benefits it is easier to apply and manage your benefits. 

Favorite Features

MIBridges Is Now Smartphone Friendly!

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As you can see from the images in this blog post, the new MIBridges is easier on the eyes.  The layout is more open and dynamic with pleasing colors. It is also very easy to use on a phone.  Uploading documents is as easy as taking a photo! 

 

It Is Easy To Upload Documents

When MDHHS needs to verify information, you used to have to wait for a request from the caseworker to upload a document in the old MIBridges.  Sometimes you would have to wait for a letter in the mail and then fax the information to MDHHS.  Now there is a new and improved interface that makes uploading documents a breeze. (Although MDHHS states you can mail your verifications, WHP staff suggests that you NEVER mail anything to MDHHS.  You have no proof that you turned in your documents. Upload or fax, that's the best.)  Now you can upload documents using your smartphone, tablet or laptop anytime and it's easy!  You don't have to wait for a request from the caseworker. 

Now hold onto your hat because after you have uploaded your documents, you can view your documents.  No more uploading documents with no confirmation or way to check if the upload was successful.   EASY and USEFUL.

 

Notifications

The previous MIBridges system allowed you to put in your phone number or email address and you were supposed to get a text or email when there was new information in your account.  You also have this option with the New MIBridges, but it is easier to find the "opt-in" notification, and it works more consistently. 

 

Report Changes

Now you can report changes quickly and easily.  Reporting proof of a new baby, a new job or enrollment in Medicare only takes a few minutes.  You report the change and upload the proof or verification in the same session.  There is no waiting for the caseworker to request a document.  If you know you need to provide proof of employment, pregnancy, change in income or any other changes, you can do it easily.

 

Identity Verification/Proofing

When you create an account or register for an account, you create a user id and password with 3 security questions.  MDHHS added another level of security, identity proofing.  Questions to which only you know the answer are pulled from your credit report to which only you know the answer.  This is a new level of security and will help to keep your information safe.  Keep a record of your new account information because it can be tricky to reset your password.  

 

My Benefits 

When you click My Benefits you can see all benefits for each member of your family.  If you click on an individual, you will see their Medicaid Health Plan if they have one.  

At this writing, this feature does not work 100% of the time, but when it works, it works well.

 

 View Letters 

You can see all the letters you have received for the last year.  In the old MIBridges, you could only see the last 60 days of letters.  Letters are visible the day they are generated.  If you are signed up for Notifications, you will be able to view your letter before it arrives in your mailbox.  

At this writing, this feature does not work 100% of the time, but when it works, it works well.

 

 Case History

When you click on Case History, you can see change reports, applications and renewals that were submitted.  This will help keep track of what you have submitted to DHHS.  It also keeps a record of when you requested a benefit or address update.  This is a handy feature!


The new MIBridges is available in English, Spanish and Arabic!

 

Give the new MIBridges a try!  And, as always, if you run into any trouble, have questions or need assistance, give us a call.  Washtenaw Health Plan - We Help People!  734-544-3030

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Medicaid work requirements: A prescription for problems

“We’ll call you with the results on Monday.”

If you’ve ever left your doctor’s office after hearing those words, then you’re familiar with the dread. Minutes become hours, hours become days, and the worst fears tend to enter your mind no matter how hard you try to suppress them.

Waiting for that call is excruciating. But a law being proposed in Lansing would make it a lot worse for many in our state.

Michigan’s Senate Bill 897 is ethically, logically and morally wrong; it threatens the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. And it’s going to cost us a boatload.

The bill comes on the heels of a change at the federal level that allows states to request waivers to enforce work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

First, let’s look at what Medicaid is. Medicaid is healthcare. It was designed to help sick people get well and to help healthy people stay that way. And it does a pretty great job. Michiganders with low incomes are able to sleep at night knowing that they can receive healthcare through Medicaid and Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program, the Healthy Michigan Plan. Since its creation in 1965, that’s what Medicaid has been: A healthcare plan.

Now, let’s look at what Medicaid is not. Medicaid is not a jobs program. Jobs programs help train workers, eliminate barriers like transportation and childcare issues, and work with local governments, community members and businesses to find solutions to problems in workforce development. By all means, let’s invest in solid jobs programs!

But some in the Michigan Legislature think we need to complicate the health plan by adding layers of bureaucracy and obstacles with work requirements. Here are a few logical truths to counter the myths being used to push work requirements:

  1. Most Medicaid recipients who can work are already working. Those who don’t work are students, caregivers, retired or in poor health.
  2. Michiganders enrolled in Healthy Michigan are doing better at work and are able to find work because they have healthcare. It’s not a big stretch: Being healthy makes it easier to thrive in the workplace. But it doesn’t work the other way around. Being at work doesn’t suddenly cure health problems.
  3. Medicaid recipients, employers, doctors and state employees will be burdened with paperwork, red tape and additional hurdles. These complications will strain the state and cause many struggling Michiganders to lose coverage.
  4. It’s going to cost us. Kentucky, which recently implemented work requirements, reports that just setting up the infrastructure to track work requirements will cost nearly $187 million in the first six months alone.
  5. Work requirements are potentially illegal. Under the act that created the Medicaid program, certain parts of the Medicaid Act can be waived, but new eligibility criteria cannot be imposed—in this case, the criteria of work in order to qualify for Medicaid. Legal challenges have already begun in Kentucky that could have repercussions on any states pursuing work requirements. Michigan lawmakers should wait and see how that case unfolds.

I’m obviously urging you to take action on this issue. But I’m also asking you to start talking about it. Talk to your friends, your neighbors, your family. Help them to understand what Medicaid is and what it is not.

I also hope you’ll listen. Over the years Medicaid has helped millions of Michiganders, from those going through a rough patch to those struggling with chronic health problems or terminal illness. It is likely that someone you love or know has benefited from Medicaid. Take the time to listen to how it helped them temporarily or on a long-term basis. And encourage them to share their story to make a difference.

If you have a personal story about how Medicaid and having reliable healthcare has enabled you to work or look for work, please share it!  Click here. 

If you have a personal story about how Medicaid and having reliable healthcare has enabled you to work or look for work, please share it!  Click here. 

Healthy people are better able to work, but working people do not automatically become healthy. Let’s stop discussing unnecessary plans like this and instead focus on the real things Michigan residents need to work and provide for their families, including Medicaid and other assistance programs, job training, adult education, high-quality child care, reliable public transportation, and more.

Added April 4th, 2018 by Gilda Z. Jacobs  

By Gilda Z. Jacobs, president & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy since 2011

April 4, 2018 

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For These Four Working Households, Medicaid--Without Work Requirements--Matters

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The idea of work requirements for Michiganders on Medicaid is rather abstract. Unfortunately, it would have significant negative consequences. Here are some real stories of people that we have worked with in the past year. (Names have been changed.)

What unites these families is that--even though, in each case, someone in the household is working--under the proposed work requirements for Medicaid, they wouldn't qualify for Medicaid. Here are their stories.

Marsha and Will: Bad Luck and Poor Health Means Medicaid is More Important Than Ever

Marsha and WIll are a married couple in their fifties, and their kids are now all grown. In 2016, they were both working low-wage jobs in the service industry. Their combined income was around $28,000/year. They could afford their rent, and their car, and they qualified for tax credits on the Marketplace. In early 2017, WIll lost his job. He was looking for a job, but now they were living on Marsha's job at Subway, which was averaging about 28 hours/week. Paying for rent was tough, but at least they now qualified for Medicaid. After about six months of being unemployed, Will had a heart attack and was in the hospital for five days. 

Under proposed Medicaid work requirements, Marsha's work was less than 30 hours/week and Will wasn't working at all--they would not have qualified for Medicaid. When Will had his heart attack, what would have happened?

Virginia: Medicaid is Vital to Mental Health

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Virginia is a single woman in her 20s. She has a history of depression and anxiety, and had been helped by Community Mental Health. When she started working 33 hours/week, her income was too high for Medicaid, and as a result she lost her relationship with Community Mental Health. Without medications and support, her anxiety got so bad that she couldn't work at all. Then Virginia became eligible for Medicaid--and Community Mental Health--again. Now, with the support of Medicaid and CMH, she is able to work. Virginia now keeps her work hours at about 25 hours/week, in order to stay eligible for Medicaid and--therefore--CMH. 

With Medicaid work requirements, Virginia might not be able to keep her hours below 30 hours/week. And if her income goes above 30 hours/week, at $11/hour she won't be eligible for Medicaid--or CMH services.

Maria and Jose: Medicaid Keeps The Family Healthy

Maria and Jose have two children, ages 3 and 5. Jose works two jobs so that Maria can stay home with the kids--childcare costs are so high. Jose is offered (and takes!) insurance from his work, but while it would be affordable for him ($100/month), if he were to add the rest of the family it would cost $600/month. So Maria and the kids are on Medicaid, which is a good thing, because Maria and her youngest child have asthma. 

With Medicaid work requirements, Maria wouldn't be eligible for Medicaid unless she were working 30 hours/week. In order to do that, though, they would have to pay for childcare. Without the asthma medication, Maria might end up in the emergency room. 

Jasmine and Mark: Medicaid Allowed Them To Take A Chance And Start A Business

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In 2015 Jasmine and Mark decided to start their own business in Washtenaw County. Investing their life savings, they quit their jobs and started spending long hours on their business. Without income, they and their two kids got Medicaid. In the first year, they did not turn a profit. In their second year, they started making a little bit of money, but were still Medicaid eligible. By year 3, they were over income for Medicaid and went on the Marketplace.

With Medicaid work requirements, in the first two years of their business, their income did not reflect the work they were putting in. How could they prove they were working? Would they qualify for Medicaid?

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The Benefits of the ACA Go Beyond Health #thanksACA

The ACA is here to stay! For the moment. People talk about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being beneficial for the health of individuals, but that is only the beginning.  There are benefits for women, hospitals, the economy, people who need mental health services, access to health care and much more! 

Maybe you know someone who quit a job they hated and started their own business because they could buy their own affordable insurance.

Maybe you know a family with a sick child who benefited from the removal of insurance spending caps.  

Maybe you know someone who was able to qualify for Medicaid and receive mental health services that allowed them to find a job and find stability in their life.

The expansion of Medicaid created the Healthy Michigan Plan and is making Michigan a better place to live. 

Please share widely or copy and paste.   jpg  or  pdf

Please share widely or copy and paste.  jpg or pdf

P.S. Remember these days?

On the left, President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Note Rep. John Dingell on the right. On the right, Governor Snyder signs the bill authorizing the Healthy Michigan Plan.

On the left, President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Note Rep. John Dingell on the right. On the right, Governor Snyder signs the bill authorizing the Healthy Michigan Plan.

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Are You A New College Grad? Your Guide To Getting Health Care

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Updated** Medicaid Dental: How to Use it and Where to Go...

Many Medicaid programs include dental coverage! Keeping your teeth healthy is just as important as taking care of your body. Here is a overview your dental benefit in Livingston and Washtenaw counties, as well as Jackson, Hillsdale, Monroe and Lenawee counties:

Healthy Kids: 80 Michigan Counties (including Livingston and Washtenaw) work with Delta Dental and an estimated 80% of dentists in those counties participate! This public-private partnership has continued to increase since it started in 2000, and with it many children have been able to access necessary dental services.

**MIChild: Beginning January 2016, MIChild is now a Medicaid program and all MIChild participants have Delta Dental. Medical, dental and vision benefits are now the same as Healthy Kids.

**Healthy Michigan Plan: While all HMP managed care plans have a dental benefit, only some work with Delta Dental. In Livingston and Washtenaw counties, those who have Molina and McLaren have Delta Dental, while other managed care plans use their own dental coverage. Meridian and Aetna Better Health have Dentaquest, Blue Cross Complete has HMI Dental and UnitedHealthCare has their own dental plan (call 1-800-903-5253).  When you're making an appointment, make sure to tell your dentist what managed care plan you have to avoid any confusion.

Medicaid to Supplement Medicare: As Medicare beneficiaries know all too well, it does not include a dental benefit. However, if you are eligible for Medicaid to supplement, you can access dental coverage through straight Medicaid. There are also some Medicare Advantage plans that offer dental coverage.

Finding a dentist that takes your health coverage can seem like a daunting task. Here are some helpful links to finding the right dentist for you:

**Washtenaw Community Dental Clinic opened in February 2015, and accepts all Medicaid dental plans (except Blue Cross Complete), straight Medicaid and the uninsured. Located in the Haab Building at 111 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti. Call today for an appointment, (877)313-6232.

-Haley Haddad


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New Options for Michigan Medicaid Health Plans Starting January 1, 2016

Starting January 1 there are some changes to Medicaid health plans around the state of Michigan. Washtenaw and Livingston counties are part of Region 9, which includes Washtenaw, Livingston, Jackson, Monroe, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties. 

In Region 9, the choices for Medicaid managed care plans are: 

AETNA BETTER HEALTH

BLUE CROSS COMPLETE

MCLAREN

MERIDIAN

MOLINA

UNITEDHEALTHCARE

In the past, the Medicaid managed care plans were set by county, and many of these plans are new to the counties they are in.

One of the biggest changes is that HAP Midwest is no longer operating in any of these counties, and they sold their list to Molina If you or your children had HAP Midwest as your Medicaid or MIChild Health Plan, you will be automatically switched to Molina.  Any member can call the Medicaid Helpline (800-642-3195) and choose another Medicaid Health Plan within 90 days, but if you do not your health plan will be Molina.  

The map on the right shows the Medicaid Health Plans by region. If you live in a different part of the state of Michigan, just click on the map to find out about your choices of health plans.

One more change to take note of: individuals with MIChild will now have the same choices of managed care plans as Medicaid.

With all of the changes going on, if you have Medicaid and your managed care plan has changed, today would be a good day to call your doctor's office and make sure they take your new plan! If not, you still have time to change it.

--M. Buhalis

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Still Going Without Health Coverage?

It's might not be too late to GET COVERED in 2015!

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