By: Guy Gauthier
From a national perspective expansion came through the Affordable Care Act, but with that, came the opportunity for each state to consider expanding its Medicaid programs.
Michigan was among the 28 states that chose to expand its Medicaid program. In Michigan, this extended access is called Healthy Michigan. Within the first year, the program has extended health care to nearly 400,000 Michigan residents and is expected to serve more than 730,000 residents by 2021. This will contribute to a 46 percent reduction in the number of uninsured individuals in Michigan, according to State of Michigan’s website.
The program is expected to serve more than 730,000 Michigan residents by 2021.
The plan offers access to 10 Essential Health Benefits as defined by the federal government: The Healthy Michigan plan is a health care program offered through the Michigan Department of Community Health, which provides coverage for individuals between the ages of 19 and 64 who have an income at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or less than $15,000 a year.
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, including behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision
It is more than a health plan, however. This program gives people with low-income the peace of mind that comes from the lifeline and stability of having health insurance, and it goes above and beyond to ensure they meet their health and wellness goals. For example, the plan covers chronic disease management programs that help manage obesity and diabetes, as well as offers programs to help quit smoking. It is about creating a healthy Michigan community, pun intended.
As Governor Rick Snyder said when signing the bill into effect, “to build a stronger Michigan, we must build a healthier Michigan. My vision is for Michiganders to be healthy, productive individuals, living in communities that support health and wellness.”
Improving access to health care is definitely one step. But health and wellness can also be improved by making a conscious decision to do so, making a lifestyle change.
“Health and wellness are important across the continuum of life from prenatal care, to providing children and adults with opportunities for nutritious food and physical activity, to the option of home-based long-term care for seniors who need it,” said Governor Snyder.
The Healthy Michigan plan opens the doors for many who have previously gone without health insurance. It also encourages Michigan residents to make the necessary changes to lead healthier lives.
About the Author: Guy Gauthier oversees the business operations of Priority Health’s Medicaid division, managing consumer experience, ensuring compliance with state and other governmental contracts, and developing the business unit as a whole. Guy first joined Priority Health in May 1992, and has served as vice president of special projects, chief operations officer and chief financial officer.