Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Only two weeks into the New Year, the first people covered under new Affordable Care Act insurance plans have begun to come to the University of Michigan Health System’s hospitals and health centers for appointments and procedures.
UMHS accepts most of the plans offered to individuals and small businesses on the private Marketplace, including those bought through www.healthcare.gov.
On Feb. 1, UMHS will begin to accept even more: specifically, a group of plans offered to individuals and businesses by the McLaren Health Plan.
For the full lists of individual and business plans UMHS accepts, see http://www.uofmhealth.org/ACAplans
Now that the once-troubled healthcare.gov website is functioning well, more Americans are likely to sign up for coverage – and use that coverage to come to UMHS. More than 75,000 Michiganders signed up for insurance through the Marketplace in recent months – 69,000 of them in December alone.
Medicaid: Just before New Year’s Eve, the federal government approved the state of Michigan’s plan for expanding Medicaid – called the Healthy Michigan plan.
The effort to enroll people who are now eligible for Medicaid under new expanded income criteria will soon begin. In addition to those who newly qualify, it’s expected that more people who were eligible for traditional Medicaid but hadn’t previously enrolled may also enroll.
Charity care & county health plans: Patients who had received MSupport charity care from UMHS are getting assistance in transitioning to low-cost private plans or will receive assistance in signing up for expanded Medicaid. MSupport will continue for individuals who don’t qualify for either.
The Washtenaw Health Plan, and other county-sponsored plans around the state, are assisting many of their members in transitioning. The plans will remain in operation to serve those who don’t qualify for ACA-related insurance.
Enrollment help from UMHS available to all:Any patient, visitor or community member can get help in enrolling in a private or Medicaid plan from UMHS Patient Financial Counselors by calling (877) 326-9155 between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday-Friday or emailing PFC-Counselors@med.umich.edu .
Walk-in help is available at several locations around the U-M medical campus and health centers.
The UMHS Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS) also has several trained counselors available to offer by-appointment help. Call 734-998-5795 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or email UMHS-RAHS@umich.edu .
A group of more than 60 U-M students trained in talking with members of the public has been assisting with outreach to people who have sought free care from U-M providers through the Hope Clinic and Student Run Free Clinic, as well as others. This outreach effort, organized through the Washtenaw Health Initiative which is partly supported by UMHS, will continue.
Key Affordable Care Act dates and deadlines:
• Jan. 1 – People who signed up for private plan coverage by Dec. 24 had coverage beginning this date
• Jan. 15 - People who sign up for a private plan by this date – including those who signed up after Dec. 25 -- will have coverage beginning Feb. 1
• Feb. 15 - People who sign up for a private plan by this date will have coverage beginning March 1
• March - Enrollment in Healthy Michigan (expanded Medicaid) plans is expected to begin
• March 15 - People who sign up for a private plan by this date will have coverage beginning April 1
• March 31 – Open enrollment ends for private individual/family plans on the Marketplace; coverage will begin May 1.
• March 31 is also the deadline for all Americans to meet the requirement of having health insurance for all or most of 2014. Most people who don’t meet this deadline will have to pay a fee on top of their income taxes in early 2015.
• April – Coverage under Healthy Michigan (expanded Medicaid) plans is expected to begin.
• All year – Someone who has a qualifying life event (such as the birth of a baby or marriage) can enroll in a Marketplace plan, or change plans, even when open enrollment is closed.
For more information about UMHS and the Affordable Care Act, visit http://www.uofmhealth.org/newoptions