Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

January 29, 2013

A look at Michigan's proposed health care exchange

LANSING (AP) — Michigan is heading down the road of teaming up with the federal government on a mandated health insurance exchange that was a major part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Here's a look at where things stand in the state:

Q: How many people are uninsured in Michigan, and how many of those are projected to get insurance under the exchange?

A: Michigan has 1.2 million uninsured people. The state estimates about 500,000 are anticipated to receive coverage through the exchange — 421,000 individuals and 82,000 employees of firms.

Q: How many people in Michigan are currently served by Medicaid and how many more will be served if the state chooses the Medicaid expansion?

A: About 1.8 million are currently served by Medicaid, and if the state chooses to expand, it expects roughly 500,000 Medicaid individuals to seek coverage within five years. The estimate for the first year is about 300,000.

Q: How many small businesses are likely to take advantage of the health insurance offered on the state's exchange?

A: Specific numbers aren't available but the state anticipates roughly 82,000 employees may receive coverage through the exchange. This could change depending on what small businesses do with their current employer-sponsored insurance options and the federal health care law's impact on that coverage.

Q: How is the exchange going to be set up, and which agency will be responsible for overseeing it?

A: Michigan is working toward establishing a federal-state partnership — one of three options for states. Officials say the federal government ultimately has responsibility for overseeing the partnership plans.

Q: How much money has been received so far from the federal government to do the initial work in setting up an exchange?

A: The state has received $31 million to conduct the activities under a partnership exchange and is working with lawmakers on receiving spending authority for that grant. Michigan previously received a $1 million grant to plan for an exchange and that has been spent. The state also received a $9.8 million grant to plan for a state-based exchange, but spending authority for that funding wasn't approved by the Legislature so that money returned to the federal government.

Q: How will residents access the exchange, and what kind of customer support will be offered?

A: State officials say they are working with the federal government, since it ultimately will determine how residents access it. The state says it's working to ensure it has local resources for exchange participants.

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