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More than half a million people in Michigan face new work requirement deadline to keep insurance


Michigan's new work requirement for the Healthy Michigan Plan began last month. But some state, county, and city officials are worried that too many remain unaware of the new law.

Healthy Michigan is the state's Medicaid expansion plan

A new law was enacted in the last weeks of the Snyder administration requiring people to work or meet other requirements to keep their Healthy Michigan Plan insurance.

On Saturday, February 29, more than half a million people who are not exempt from the requirement must file their first documentation, showing they worked, volunteered or searched for a job 20 hours a week in January.

The Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services has been holding informational sessions across the state, as well as sending letters to Healthy Michigan recipients, to educate them about the new requirement.

It may not be enough. David Coulter is Oakland County's Executive.  

"I'm very worried that the word isn't out," says Coulter. "I think there's a great misunderstanding, and to the extent that we can help both educate people to the requirements and help them meet them requirements, I think that's our responsibility."

Coulter says there will be a community event at the Michigan Works! office in Pontiac on February 27th.  And staff from the Oakland-Livingston Human Services Agency will also be there, offering both job search help as well as the opportunity to volunteer with the agency.  

"So together, we think we will be able to offer people the options they need to meet the requirements," he says.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says as many as 100,000 people could lose their insurance under the new work requirements.

The Senate Fiscal Agency estimates the subsequent enrollment decline could save the state from $5 to $20 million.

People who are exempt from the work requirement include disabled or medically frail individuals, under age 19, pregnant women, full-time students, caretakers of a child under six, and people on unemployment or recently released from incarceration.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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