An estimated 20,000 people enrolled in Healthy Michigan, the state's Medicaid expansion program, could lose public coverage next April because they have not participated in at least one healthy behavior such as smoking cessation since signing up for the program.
Under a federal waiver approved in late 2015 for Healthy Michigan — a Medicaid program in Michigan allowed by Obamacare — about 3 percent of the 650,000 people enrolled with incomes 100 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and not medically frail could be forced off the program.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which is partnering with five managed-care organizations to cover all 83 of the state's counties, is working on a plan to encourage those disenfranchised Medicaid members to sign up for private health coverage on the insurance exchange. The members will be eligible for federally subsidized premiums for the plans.
The five participating commercial insurers offering individual health benefit products on the exchange are Meridian Health Plan of Michigan, Priority Health, McLaren Health Plan, Total Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
But the newly enrolled former Healthy Michigan Medicaid members will face higher costs and they will not have enhanced dental coverage as they had on Medicaid, making it uncertain how many will opt for coverage at all after they are terminated from Medicaid.
Chris Priest, director of Medicaid with the MDHHS, said the state will begin outreach efforts with the participating HMOs to encourage those 20,000 Healthy Michigan members to see their primary care doctors and engage in a healthy behavior before the April deadline. He said he hopes those numbers will decline by February when the state will update its numbers.