At the end of August, a program was put into effect that allows the “high risk” citizens of Michigan denied coverage in the last six months to obtain health care coverage. Previous to this program, no person with a chronic disease (diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, etc.) could afford health insurance.. The federal government passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, stating that each individual state must decide whether they will create a high-risk health insurance group. Michigan was one of the states to choose to implement the bill. On estimate, there are over 1.2 million uninsured citizens in Michigan. The High Risk Pool is expected to insure about 3,500 of these people. “Michigan residents who have been denied care because of a pre-existing condition will now have another chance for affordable coverage and the peace of mind that comes with it," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.Coverage is to begin on October 1.
The new plan is not supposed cost Michigan any money, though. The pool is being subsidized from $141 million in federal grants. The rest of the money is expected to be paid by the patients receiving coverage. Monthly premiums can range anywhere from $180 a month for a twenty year old to $650 or more for a person sixty years old or older. Administrators say the coverage will be easier to understand and will cost less than a typical policy for an individual. But, several independent analyses conclude that there will not be enough money to go around. All fifty states are participating in the high risk pool and there is $5 billion coming to them (all together, not individually). Experts are saying that demand will be high, so more money will be needed. The government counters back with the fact that they can shift around any unused funds, but administrators are extremely reluctant to ask for more.
The High Risk Health Care Pool is temporary, only available until 2014. Taking its place is a federal law stating all insurers must cover EVERY person, regardless of any previous condition. Researchers estimate 1.2 million uninsured citizens in Michigan. Among that amount, there is no information as to how many have a pre-existing condition that has denied them health care in the past. According to a policy committee serving the Senate Democrats, the federal health bill will cover up to 141,753 of the uninsured residents in Michigan. It’s goal is to provide affordable coverage to all people, pre-existing condition or not.