Two federal reports highlight success of MDHHS's MI Health Link

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 23, 2019                                            

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – Two new reports highlight the success of and satisfaction with the MI Health Link program, a comprehensive health care plan available to individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

MI Health Link is administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and seven integrated care organizations. The program offers a full range of health care benefits to dually eligible beneficiaries, including home and community-based services, care coordination, non-emergent medical transportation, dental, vision, physical, and behavioral health care. Beneficiaries do not have copays for prescription drugs or covered services when delivered by network providers.

MI Health Link is available to Michigan adults, ages 21 or older, who live in Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, Macomb, St. Joseph, Van Buren or Wayne counties or any county in the Upper Peninsula. Eligible individuals can enroll in MI Health Link at any time and do not need to wait for open enrollment periods to join.

“By providing enrollees access to care through one plan, MI Health Link is helping Michiganders take better care of themselves,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “This in turn has led to a reduction in emergency room visits and inpatient admissions.”

CMS contracted with Alan Newman Research to conduct a series of focus groups in June 2019 to better understand the experience of beneficiaries enrolled MI Health Link. Overall, a summary of the focus group findings shows participants reported very high satisfaction with their MI Health Link plan experiences.

Key reasons for participants’ high satisfaction include:

  • Access to additional benefits and services (dental, vision, behavioral health, transportation, health clubs, home modifications, health club memberships, etc.).
  • Access to quality health care providers.
  • Care coordinators who help get enrollees’ needs met.
  • Full coverage for their medical care (no costs, including no copays).
  • General peace of mind, reduction of health and financial anxiety.
  • Good coverage of prescription drugs.
  • Free, over-the-counter medical supplies (bandages, incontinence pads, etc.).

Focus group participants consistently reported receiving assistance during care transitions, follow up after doctors’ appointments, locating doctors who accept their plan and general emotional support from their health plan care coordinator. Many also noted an improved quality of life, that they took better care of themselves and that they were encouraged to do so by their plan care coordinator.

One participant stated, “Now I don’t have the copay, so I’m more apt to do my preventive care, which makes you feel better in the long run.”

CMS also contracted with RTI International to monitor and evaluate the impact on beneficiary experience, quality of care, service utilization and cost of the MI Health Link program. The first evaluation report for Michigan’s MI Health Link demonstration shows reductions in both the probability of inpatient admissions as well as preventable emergency room visits. 

For more information about the program and to see the RTI International and Alan Newman Research reports, visit Michigan.gov/MIHealthLink.

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