Working Together For Michigan Consumers To be Healthy

MCH Provides Critical Michigan Legislative Update

The Michigan Legislature is focusing on two distinctly different, but equally important pieces of legislation. House Bill 4714 (HB4714) was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives by Representative Matt Lori (R, St. Joseph-Cass) on May 9, 2013. This piece of legislation has opened the door for talks surrounding Medicaid expansion in Michigan to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Even though the door may be open, there are many conversations and changes that must be made before this legislation would be palatable. Michigan Consumers for Healthcare (MCH) fully supports the idea of changing Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the FPL, however, in a way that is consumer friendly and helps those who need it most. Under the proposed guidelines outlined in this legislation, it would limit eligibility for benefits to 48 total months. To express a scenario, if someone were receiving benefits for 45 months and became seriously ill, they would only have 3 months of benefits available to them. From that point forward, they would be cut off. There is a restriction on age. The bill as presented would limit benefits to those 21 and over to the age of 65. This leaves a great portion of Michigan population uncovered for their medical needs. There is also verbiage that would mandate “nondisabled adults enrolled in Medicaid would have to make contributions of up to 5% of their annual income into their accounts based on the DCH’s determination of their ability to pay. Contributions could include, but are not limited to, deductibles, copayments, premiums, or other applicable charges, as determined by DCH.”

Senate Bill 324 (SB324) is focusing on establishing guidelines that would impact all Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) wishing to become Navigators in the newly to be formed Healthcare Marketplace set to begin enrollment October 1, 2013. This legislation would place very strict requirements that every potential Navigator must meet prior to certification as well as maintaining these certifications on an annual basis. Some items being discussed are mandates that require finger printing all perspective Navigators and conducting thorough criminal background checks at the expense of those who file, licensure guidelines that far exceed federal requirements, fees and cost that would make it prohibitive for many organizations to become navigators. On the positive side, Senator James Marleau (R-Oakland) who introduced this legislation is open to discuss revisions to SB324. MCH has been in contact with his office and look forward to productive talks ensuring that the people of Michigan have highly trained Marketplace Navigators at their disposal without placing undue barriers on those who wish to become Navigators.