On February 6, 2014, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) indicated that wide-scale enrollment for the Healthy Michigan Plan (Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program) will likely begin in April 2014.
Previously, the educated assumption had been that while coverage would begin on or around April 1st, Michigan residents would have the opportunity to apply before that date. Today’s comments from MDCH solidify a timeline which focuses on enrollment beginning in April; however, a specific date has not been provided.
“Our goal is for the Healthy Michigan Plan to begin in April,” said MDCH spokesperson Angela Minicuci. “The exact specifics of when enrollment will begin or when coverage will begin will be determined as we roll out the Plan. We’ve seen what happens when enrolling a large volume of people into health coverage with a system that is not prepared. We are determined to make sure our systems are capable to avoid any issues or delays for the consumers.”
MDCH’s comments differ from informal reports which indicated the Healthy Michigan Plan application could be available online next month. A previous statement indicated enrollment could begin as soon as early February.
“Bottom line is that while we completely understand that people want information regarding enrollment, the last thing we want to do is rush to get a program up that will only cause delays and issues for residents,” Minicuci said. “We are going to do this right and ensure our systems are ready and prepared for this new influx of beneficiaries.”
MPCA’s guidance for Michigan Health Centers during this period of coverage transition continues to focus on a stratified assistance approach:
- For individuals with income above 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), complete a Health Insurance Marketplace application as soon as possible.
- Individuals in the 100-133% FPL range will ultimately qualify for the Healthy Michigan Plan and will need to transition their coverage when Healthy Michigan enrollment begins. Assisting individuals within this income range in signing up for the text message update service is also encouraged—they can sign up by texting INFOMI to 69866.
- For individuals below 100% FPL, provide basic education about the Healthy Michigan Plan, assist clients in signing up for the text message update service by texting INFOMI to 69866, and collect contact information for follow-up (with consent) when enrollment begins.
While both the MI Bridges and healthcare4mi.com application portals have undergone updates in recent weeks, neither currently contains an application for the Healthy Michigan Plan. MPCA will notify Michigan Health Centers as soon as the application is online.
MPCA is drafting a timeline for Michigan Health Centers to utilize in planning Healthy Michigan inreach and outreach strategies based on MDCH’s comments. The timeline will provide a framework for activities over the course of the next several weeks. Please check MPCA’s outreach and enrollment toolkit to download the new resource when it is available.