Healthy Michigan program offers health care options to low-income residents

Photo by Illustration by Lisa Sawyer

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, states were allowed to expand their Medicaid programs in 2014 to people ages 18-64 under 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000 per year for a single adult).


Michigan was one of 31 states that agreed to expand Medicaid, with the federal government agreeing to pay 100 percent of the costs for three years, or through 2016.


Then, starting in January 2017, Michigan and other states are required to fund about 5 percent of costs, which for Michigan amounts to about $150 million per year, rising to 10 percent by 2021.


So far, 619,000 Michiganians have signed up for Healthy Michigan, with about 520,000 enrolled in a health plan, far exceeding the 450,000 state projections for the first two years.


Despite Gov. Rick Snyder’s original proposal to place 50 percent of state savings – which amounted to more than $220 million in 2014 and 2015 – into a health savings sub-account of the governor’s budget stabilization fund, the state Legislature declined to do so.


From 2014 to 2023, Healthy Michigan is projected to save the state $983 million, according to a report by Ann Arbor-based Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation. The savings come from mental health and prison expenses for people who had received services previously paid for by the state general fund now covered by Healthy Michigan.






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