Discussing The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Michigan’s Health Safety Net

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed Medicaid expansion legislation that will give over 470,000 Michigan residents access to insurance.  This “Healthy Michigan” plan expands Medicaid coverage to 133 percent of the poverty level, equating to $15,000 for an individual and $31,000 for a family of four.

Kirk Roy, Vice President of National Health Reform at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan moderated a panel at Healthy Safety Net 2013: A Blues Symposium this month that discussed that news and more about health reform in Michigan, including how it relates to free clinics, federally qualified health centers, hospitals and other safety net providers.

Panelists included Marianne Udow-Phillips, Director of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation as well as Geralyn Lasher, Deputy Director for External Relations and Communications for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The panel emphasized how recent Medicaid legislation is reforming, not just expanding, the Medicaid system with a focus on value-based purchasing and personal responsibility.  Just as providers will be incentivized for improved outcomes, Medicaid members will receive reduced premiums for healthy behaviors.  Income-based premiums will increase if members choose to stay on Medicaid for more than four years.

Enrollment for expanded Medicaid is not expected to begin in April, resulting in a few complications.  As the federal government expected all states to expand Medicaid, the threshold for tax credits and subsides was set to 100% of federal poverty level or above.

Of Michigan residents newly eligible for Medicaid expansion, one quarter will be eligible for government assistance when purchasing insurance on the exchange to cover them until expanded Medicaid enrollment. Three quarters of those eligible for Medicaid expansion, however, are under 100% poverty and will not qualify for subsidies or tax credits.

Coming health care change is complicated.  This year’s safety net symposium was designed to help safety net providers receive updated information and practical tools so they can, in turn, equip the under-insured and uninsured Michigan community with information needed to make better health care decisions.

For more information on health care reform, visit HealthCareReformBasics.com.  To hear the audio of the panel discussion, be sure to click play on the podcast link below.

Photo Credit: Bob B. Brown

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