Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined a coalition of governors from 12 states including North Carolina, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania among others. Together, governors are requesting the Trump administration to increase access to affordable health care during the COVID-19 crisis.
The coalition sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma calling for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange.
“Too many of our constituents are uninsured or underinsured despite the steps we’ve taken at the state level,” the governors said.
“As a result, far too many of our residents are choosing to forgo coronavirus testing and treatment out of fear of the potential costs to themselves and their families. It is essential that we remove every barrier as quickly as possible to ensure those in our states and across the country are able to access the treatment they need.”
There has been a precedent for special enrollment periods in the past.
After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated communities across the Southern United States, CMS announced a special enrollment period for those impacted by the storms. Special enrollment periods have also been used to respond to more personal situations such as house fires or domestic violence.
Previously, here in Michigan, the Whitmer Administration along with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) worked with health insurance companies to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 related treatments. On April 10, DIFS announced that the state had received agreements from nearly all of the state’s health insurance companies to waive copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for COVID-19 related treatments.
“During this crisis, we must do everything we can to ensure access to quality, affordable health care,” said Governor Whitmer.
In March, Whitmer, along with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters urged the Trump Administration to open a special enrollment period to allow people without health insurance or short-term plans to purchase a health care plan through the health insurance marketplaces.
Posted by Michigan State Police on Monday, April 13, 2020
“We will continue to work with our partners across both state and federal government, as well as those in the private sector, to ensure Michiganders everywhere can access the care they need.” Whitmer said.
In her latest press conference, she announced 13 new drive-thru testing sites across the state, including 2 in Detroit, and 2 million new N95 masks thanks to DTE Energy.
View the coalition’s full letter HERE.