Changes to health insurance are coming – don’t get caught without coverage
When COVID-19 hit the scene in the spring of 2020, it caused many changes, including changes to the health insurance safety net for low-income adults and children.
So many people have lost their jobs or had their working hours reduced in 2020 that an emergency order has been put in place.
Under this special order, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other health insurance programs for low-income people temporarily stopped requiring people to prove they still had health each year. low income. In Michigan, this includes the Healthy Michigan Plan and the MiKid Program.
This has helped people retain their insurance coverage – both people who suddenly needed this type of safety net insurance for the first time and people who had been receiving their insurance from these programs for a while. .
In Michigan alone, more than two million people were able to get insurance during the pandemic and get care when they needed it.
Now that the pandemic has subsided and jobs are easier to find, this emergency order will soon end. Some people call this a “denouement”.
This means that all participants in these programs will have to renew their coverage if they want to keep it.
In Michigan, the process will require everyone covered by these types of insurance to provide income information to the state. Department of Health and Social Services. The state will use this information to determine if each individual or family is still eligible for these plans based on their income.
We asked experts from Michigan Medicine and other organizations what this means and what people with this type of insurance should do now, before the emergency prescription override begins.
Note: More information will continue to come out in the coming months, watch this article for updates.
Michigan State, and other states, will do so gradually, not all at once. So even when the emergency order is lifted, it may take weeks or months before a person or family has to submit income information or be excluded from safety net insurance. It is not yet known who will be invited to do so first.
Act now to make sure the state has your correct address.
The State of Michigan will send paper letters to the registered address. If you recently moved or never received a paper letter from the state health department to your current address, call your caseworker and give them your correct address. Or go to your county office for the Department of Health and Human Servicesand do it in person.
If your address is not correct and the state sends the letter to the wrong or old address, and you never receive it, they could still remove you from your health insurance without you knowing.
Important Note: Simply updating your address on Michigan’s MiBridges website or another state site may not be enough. Talk to a real person and make absolutely sure that your correct address is registered.
If you don’t live in Michigan but you or your children have income-based insurance, check with your state or territory’s Medicaid department; find a full list of websites and contact information here.
When you receive a letter, act quickly:
In Michigan, the state will send letters to everyone enrolled in these programs for whom it has addresses. Each person or family will be asked to provide information about their current income.
Some people, especially those with both Medicare and Medicaid, may need to give more information about other assets like houses, cars, or bank accounts.
If you submit income information, the state will review it and you will either receive a letter stating that you can continue in the program for another year, or a letter stating that you are not eligible and your coverage will not be available. not renewed.
If you don’t receive a letter because of the wrong address, or if you receive it but don’t provide information, you could lose your coverage. The state will send another letter stating that you are removed from the insurance program at the end of the month in which the letter was sent.
If you know your income has exceeded the limit, you should still submit the information requested in the letter. Your coverage will continue until the state reviews your information and you receive a letter stating that your coverage will end at the end of the month.
If you find your coverage is about to end, act quickly again. You will have a limited time to purchase health insurance from your employer (if offered) or through the Healthcare.gov marketplace. If you miss this opportunity, you may not have insurance for the rest of 2022, but you may be able to buy a plan on the market (keep reading to learn more).
If you have a job that offers insurance, find out now. Talk to your employer about how to enroll now or later.
Under national law, if you receive a letter stating that you are no longer eligible for Medicaid or other safety net coverage, your employer must open their plan to you, even if it is not the usual open enrollment time. You have 60 days to register.
If you still qualify for Medicaid because of your income, but also have access to insurance through employment, sometimes you can keep Medicaid as your primary insurance and use your employment-related insurance for other costs.
If you don’t have access to job-related insurance, but your income now exceeds the limit for “safety net” insurance, it’s time to think about what kind of insurance you could buy for yourself. and your family.
The Healthcare.gov website has a special enrollment period open through the end of 2022 for people with incomes below 150% of the federal poverty level.
Even if your income is above that, loss of insurance is still considered a “life event” that gives you access to purchase a plan on the Healthcare.gov site.
Depending on your income, you may be eligible for financial assistance to pay for some of the coverage costs of a plan you purchase on Healthcare.gov.
Go to https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/ to find out if you can buy insurance now or soon on the Marketplace.
Important: You can view the plans now and get an idea of what kind of financial assistance you could get. But don’t complete the enrollment process for this type of coverage until you know your income-based coverage is ending.
If you have a doctor or other provider you particularly want to continue seeing, or appointments or procedures scheduled for this year, be sure to check if they accept the insurance plan you might be switching to.
You can see which doctors and other providers, and which hospitals, are in-network for each insurance plan by visiting the plan’s website or calling them.
You can also check the website of the clinic, health system or hospital where you plan to go. For example, here is the page of insurance plans that Michigan Medicine accepts for services at all University of Michigan hospitals and clinics. If you shop on the Marketplace, you can see the list of Marketplace plans that Michigan Medicine accepts here.
Do not hesitate to ask for help :
Major county hospitals and health departments offer help with health insurance issues. In Michigan, the state is adding staff to help people understand their options.
If you are in southeast Michigan, you can contact the Washtenaw Health Plan at 734-544-3030 or [email protected].
Michigan Medicine financial counselors can help anyone in Michigan; call them at 877-326-9155 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or email [email protected].
Or use the Healthcare.gov Local Help Section or contact a local safety net clinic find help anywhere in the country.
If you get a new form of insurance, be sure to tell your doctor’s office or other places where you receive care.
They need to update their records with the information you give them. They will not receive notice from the state if you are no longer covered by Medicaid or the Healthy Michigan Plan. They need to know where to send the bills for all the care you receive.
Don’t drop your insurance!
Having an insurance gap can be very bad for your health. Studies have shown that many people without insurance delay seeking needed care because they will have to pay the full cost.
What if you had an emergency and needed care right away? Or did you have a symptom you needed to get checked out? If you don’t have money set aside that you can use to pay for care directly, you could end up with big bills.
Get at least some form of insurance to cover big costs — and things like COVID-19 testing and care if you need it.
If you have appointments or procedures scheduled in the next few months, or need care now, your current plan should cover them. But that can change if your insurance ends or changes.
As the renewal process will be gradual, you are covered by your current program until you learn otherwise. But that’s why it’s so important to make sure your registered address is correct and that you respond to any letters promptly.
If you lose your coverage because you did not receive the letter or did not provide the necessary information, and a hospital or clinic cannot obtain payment for the services you receive, they will have to send you the invoice.