Governor Whitmer, DIFS Announce Support for Proposed Rule Changes That Will Expand Health Coverage Availability
This release was originally issued by Governor Whitmer's Office.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2021
(LANSING, MICH) The State of Michigan has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing support for proposed rule changes that will protect and expand Michiganders' access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of ensuring that affordable, high quality health coverage is accessible to everyone, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to make this a reality for all Michiganders," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "I applaud the proposals from the Biden Administration to extend open enrollment and create a new monthly enrollment period for low-income consumers, which will help make vital health coverage more accessible for more consumers right here in Michigan."
"These newly proposed rules will provide more time and more opportunities for Michiganders to enroll in affordable and comprehensive health coverage," said Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox. "We know that having health insurance leads to better health outcomes, and DIFS is here to help consumers if they have questions or concerns about purchasing or using their health insurance coverage."
Open enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace normally runs from November 1 through December 15 each year, with coverage starting January 1 of the following year. Under the proposed CMS rule changes, the yearly open enrollment period would be extended through January 15, giving consumers an additional 30 days in which to obtain health coverage. This proposed extension would begin for the 2022 benefit year and would also apply for future benefit years after 2022.
Michigan's comments also expressed support for the proposed CMS rule change that would allow states with federally operated Health Insurance Marketplaces, including Michigan, to offer a monthly Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to low-income consumers. At present, SEPs are only available when consumers have experienced a qualified life change, but this proposed expanded rule would create monthly SEPs allowing consumers with a household income no greater than 150% of the federal poverty level to access health insurance coverage and take advantage of the expanded advance premium tax credits offered under the American Rescue Plan.
In 2020, the state of Michigan conducted a $1 million outreach campaign to encourage Michiganders to sign up for health coverage, and has continued those outreach efforts during the current Health Insurance Marketplace special enrollment period, which ends August 15. DIFS and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have held numerous virtual town halls on health insurance. More information, including a schedule of future events, is available on the DIFS health insurance website.
Michiganders who still need health coverage for 2021 are encouraged to visit HealthCare.gov to take advantage of low and no-cost health insurance options by August 15. Additional information is available on the DIFS website or by calling DIFS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442.
The mission of the Department is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan citizens. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.