It’s official: federal and state policy changes aimed at increasing health insurance access in Michigan has proven to be a win for the state.
The U.S. Census Bureau released data for 2014 revealing that the rate of uninsured residents dropped to 8.5 percent, down from 11 percent in 2013. The national average is 11.7 percent.
The biggest drops in the percentage of uninsured came in Van Buren, Bay, Allegan and Lenawee counties, largely rural areas that have been many low and middle income families now receiving health insurance.
A big factor has been the more than 600,000 people enrolled today in the Healthy Michigan Plan.
Each year, more and more residents are insured receiving preventative and routine care. By increasing preventative care to hundreds of thousands of people, we’re cutting back on high-cost emergency visits and inpatient care. By keeping our residents healthy, they can work, go to school and improve financial security for their families. It’s a win-win.
The Healthy Michigan plan, a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, insures low-income adults who don’t qualify for government subsidized or provided health insurance. Nearly 75 percent of those individuals insured by the plan live in poverty and half are 34 or younger.
We’re proud that many of our MAHP members are offering products on the health insurance exchange and through the Healthy Michigan Plan to residents. Some of the benefits of this plan include a wide network of doctors, preventative care and tools, transportation assistance to and from visits and more. It’s a step in the right direction to make Michigan healthier.
While it is difficult for many to admit it, it is hard to suggest anything other than success. Our job will be to sustain this effort and make sure it remains cost-effective.