The number of Michiganders enrolling in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan is on the rise during the 2020 open enrollment period ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline, but there are still thousands who are uninsured and may be eligible for low- or no-cost coverage. This includes those who have lost their employer-provided health insurance this year and may need to shop for health coverage for the first time.
“No Michigander should have to worry about how to access quality, affordable health care, especially during a pandemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan saw an estimated 46% increase in the number of uninsured adults, and there are still thousands of people who need coverage. That’s why it’s crucial for all of those who need to get covered to enroll now, ahead of the December 15th deadline. My administration will continue working around the clock to ensure Michiganders have the care they need.”
Except in certain circumstances, open enrollment is the only time during which consumers can purchase new coverage for 2021 or make changes to their existing plans. With just one week until the open enrollment deadline, 79,006 consumers have already signed up for Marketplace coverage, compared to 77,305 during the same time period last year. Since 2017, Michigan has experienced sizeable drops in Marketplace participation compared to the preceding year, most recently seeing a 4.1% decrease in 2019 compared to 2018. The current 2.2% increase marks an encouraging trend in the face the nation’s current public health crisis.
“The Dec. 15 open enrollment deadline is quickly approaching, and it is vital that you get started today,” said Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox. “The most often-cited barriers to signing up for insurance are because consumers think it’s too expensive or too complicated to enroll. The good news is, there’s free local enrollment help available and the vast majority of Michiganders who signed up last year received subsidies to lower their costs. Consumers can check out plan options and their estimated discount, all without logging in or creating an account.”
In addition to helping consumers shop for health coverage, the Marketplace also helps consumers find out if they qualify for low- or no-cost plans, making coverage more affordable. For the current plan year, approximately 80% of Michiganders who got coverage through the Marketplace received federal tax subsidies to lower their premiums. The Marketplace can also help connect consumers with free, qualified local assisters to help them make informed coverage decisions.
To determine eligibility and to review their options, consumers should visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov. Depending on income and their situation, consumers may qualify for cost sharing reductions, premium tax credits, coverage for their children (CHIP), or Medicaid. For help getting started, consumers should contact DIFS toll free Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442 or visit Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.