The Affordable Care Act created regulated, consumer-oriented state-based health insurance marketplaces—or exchanges—through which individuals and small businesses can purchase health insurance coverage starting in 2014. Individuals who purchase private insurance through the exchange and earn 133%-400% of the Federal Poverty Level (that’s roughly $29,500-$88,500 for a family of four) are eligible for premium and cost-sharing credits.
It’s estimated that between 517,000 and 730,000 people will gain coverage through Michigan’s health insurance exchange and this newly covered population is an important area of growth for Community Health Centers. In addition, health plans in the exchange will be required to work with safety-net providers (including CHCs), and Health Centers will receive fair payment for services provided to patients enrolled in exchange health plans (at least PPS).
Senate Bill 693, introduced by Senator Jim Marleau, creates Michigan’s health insurance exchange called the MiHealth Marketplace. All states are required to establish similar marketplaces. If we don’t, the federal government will do it for us and Michigan will lose control and influence over the policy and processes in this important new health insurance market. SB 693 needs to be adopted by Thanksgiving to ensure Michigan has enough time to successfully design an exchange that meets our state’s needs. Delaying the legislation could result in Michigan losing millions of dollars in federal grant funding and the time necessary to properly design the MiHealth Marketplace and integrate the technologies necessary to make the exchange run properly. Plus, the jobs that would be created in Michigan to operate an exchange will likely be created elsewhere.
Michigan’s health insurance exchange is one of the most important pieces of healthcare reform; it will expand access to care in your community for thousands of friends, colleagues and neighbors. PLEASE CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR TODAY and tell him/her:
I am asking you for two things: to vote “yes” on Senate Bill 693 and to support movement of this bill before Thanksgiving. We can’t afford to wait, we need to pass legislation now to begin the critical process of building the MiHealth Marketplace as soon as possible. My concern is that if the exchange is not created soon, I believe it is very likely that by default, Michigan will end up with the federal government running our exchange. This will mean people in
Washington, not Lansing, will be making decisions that affect us and it also means jobs that would be created in Michigan to operate an exchange will likely be created elsewhere. Although the Affordable care Act doesn’t begin until 2014, the exchange structure and information technology requirements mandated by the federal government must be decided upon by June 2012 if Michigan is to receive federal money to establish an exchange. That is just 8 months away. Everyone is saying “take it slow,” but the longer we wait to create the exchange the less time we will have to design it in our rush to meet this June deadline. I suggest that we pass SB 693 now and begin to do some thoughtful planning to get ready by next June.
This significant legislation will not pass without the support of advocates like you. The future of healthcare reform in Michigan is at stake—click here for the direct phone number of your state Senator so you can make your call to support Senate Bill 693 TODAY!