---- — LANSING (AP) — Five things to know about Michigan’s new health insurance marketplace, which opens today and is a major component of the federal health care law:
SHOULD I CARE? Yes, if you don’t have health insurance or buy it on your own. Michigan has 1.1 million uninsured residents and hundreds of thousands more who purchase their own. The law requires that you have health coverage or face fines.
DO I QUALIFY? You will get tax credits to help pay for monthly premiums if you make between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line. That’s about $11,500 to $46,000 for an individual, or $23,000 to $94,000 for a family of four.
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE? Coverage starts Jan. 1. You have until March 31 to sign up for a plan without being penalized.
HOW DO I PICK THE BEST PLAN? Go to www.healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596. You’ll have four levels of coverage to consider: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Plans at every level cover the same benefits but different percentages of medical costs.
DOES MICHIGAN DIFFER FROM OTHER STATES? Yes and no. It’s among 36 states where the federal government will control all or most of the exchange. State government has a limited role except to link computer systems to the market.
One thing unique to Michigan is competition. It has the highest number of participating insurers, 13, among states that chose not to run the exchange on their own.
You on average will have 43 plans to pick from. You’ll pay dramatically different premiums depending on your income, family size, age, hometown and tobacco use. Michigan’s average premium, before tax credits, ranks about middle of the pack nationally.