Governor Gretchen Whitmer is announcing the state is going to spend about $1 million to connect with Michigan residents who have lost medical insurance. Onc3e connected, the state wants to help them obtain new coverage.  The state points to a recent report from the National Center for Coverage Innovation that claims Michigan has experienced a 46% increase in the number of uninsured adults in just a four-month period this year from February to May.

The $1 million investment, through the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will support community-based organizations that help state residents enroll in coverage, and virtual health insurance educational programs.  It will also support an advertising campaign that will target communities impacted heavily by COVID-19-related job losses.

There are a number of ways for people to get new medical insurance. Depending on a variety of circumstances, state residents may qualify for no or low-cost coverage through cost-sharing reductions, premium tax credits, coverage programs for children, the Healthy Michigan Plan, or Medicaid. The state MiBridges program and the Marketplace will help connect residents to the programs they are eligible for, so there is no wrong door to begin the process to get covered.

To get started:

Open enrollment for the Marketplace runs Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2020, with coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Assistance is available to help people at no cost by visiting localhelp.healthcare.gov.

Special enrollment periods may also be available to people who experienced a qualifying life event in 2020, including job loss or reduction in income, but who have not yet enrolled in a new plan. Also, American Indians and Alaska Natives can enroll in a Marketplace plan at any time and can change plans once a month. For more information about special enrollment periods, visit healthcare.gov/screener.

Depending on income and other factors, coverage is also available through Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan. Those eligible can apply for coverage at any time through Michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling the Michigan 211 COVID-19 Resource Navigation line at 844-587-2485.

Seniors who have lost employer-provided health insurance during the pandemic may also be able to sign up for Medicare during a special enrollment period. For more information about signing up for Medicare or eligibility for a special enrollment period seniors may visit Medicare.gov or call the Michigan Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program at 1-800-803-7174.

For assistance with private insurance, consumers should visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Consumers can also contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442 or DIFS-HICAP@michigan.gov if they need assistance.

For assistance with Healthy Michigan Plan and Medicaid, visit Michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling the Michigan 211 COVID-19 Resource Navigation line at 844-587-2485.

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