A new state law that went into effect on January 1st may have serious effects on those who use the Healthy Michigan Plan Health Insurance, also known as Medicaid. There are currently 11,462 individuals on the books as recipients in St. Clair County and 2,688 in Sanilac County. The new law will require those who receive the insurance to report to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as to their employment status.
Dr. Annette Mercatante, Medical Health Officer for the St. Clair County Health Department said she expects local effects related to the new requirement “…will reduce the number of people with health insurance, both short term and long term.” Mercatante believes, “This will not be an advantage to [the] community or to the state as Medicaid expansion has improved several factors in the health ecosystem.” Mercatante cited data from a similar program in Arkansas that resulted in over 18,000 people losing coverage when the work reporting requirement was enacted.
The new Michigan law requires recipients to report that they have completed at least 80 hours of employment or other activities like job searches, volunteering, internships, or rehab with certain exceptions. Recipients that will be affected should have received notification by mail. More information is available at www.michigan.gov/mdhhs.
Reporting for WGRT, Karly Hurley.