Michigan leaders are singing praises of the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which, among other important provisions, will make health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace more affordable and more accessible for Michiganders dealing with the troublesome economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has highlighted a number of important challenges that we face here in Michigan, including a strong need for affordable, high-quality health coverage,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a press release. “I appreciate the leadership shown by President Biden and members of Michigan’s Democratic congressional delegation who voted to make sure that this vitally important coverage is more accessible for all Michiganders, including critical policies like providing low-income moms health care for a full year postpartum to reduce health disparities and encourage healthy moms and healthy babies.”
“The American Rescue Plan will help more Michiganders afford the health coverage that is critical to their health and their family’s wellbeing,” said Anita Fox, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) in the press release. “We saw nearly 5,000 Michiganders and more than 200,000 Americans sign up for coverage in just the first two weeks of the current Marketplace special enrollment period, and this legislation will help more Michiganders afford the coverage they need.”
“COVID-19 has underscored the importance of addressing racial disparities in health and expanding access to health care coverage through Medicaid,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We appreciate this strong support from President Biden and will continue working to make sure Michigan residents don’t need to worry about being able to afford health care during a pandemic.”
The American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden last Thursday, put into place several key provisions to improve access to health coverage nationwide. They are:
· A $35 billion investment to increase and expand subsidies that lower premiums for people who buy coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. For example, a 60-year-old Michigan couple earning $75,000 a year will see their Marketplace premium go down by approximately $943 per month as a result of the Plan.
· Forgives more than $6 billion in payments owed by consumers whose 2020 advanced premium subsidies did not match their income.
· A 100% subsidy for COBRA payments for six months for individuals who lost their job or who saw reduced work hours.
· A full year of increased premium subsidies for people who receive unemployment. Depending on income and the plan chosen, this could mean a full year of Marketplace coverage without having to pay any premium.
In addition to the above provisions for Marketplace plans, the bill also includes numerous investments to reduce health disparities, including an option for states to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year, support for state home-and-community-based Medicaid services, and resources for COVID-19 response in nursing homes. The bill also provides $8.5 billion for rural providers and secures additional funding to safety-net hospitals.
DIFS can help consumers with health insurance questions and complaints and can provide information about the Health Insurance Marketplace Special Enrollment Period that is open through May 15. For more information, including a schedule of upcoming DIFS and MDHHS virtual health insurance town halls, consumers should visit Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance or call 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/difs or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.