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Medicaid expansion rolls out in one month in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
"Healthy Michigan" would cover nearly everyone, under the age of 65, with an income up to 133% of the federal poverty limit.

In one month, more than 300,000 people are expected to begin signing up for expanded Medicaid coverage in Michigan. The Medicaid expansion is part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

"Healthy Michigan" would cover nearly everyone, under the age of 65, with an income up to 133% of the federal poverty limit. That translates to individuals making about $15,000 and families of four making less than $32,000.

Jim Haveman is the director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. He says preparations for the Medicaid expansion were slowed by problems with the Obamacare website.

He admits problems with the Obamacare website gave him some sleepless nights.

“That was keeping me up 30 days ago but it’s not keeping me up now because we’re seeing it begin to work,” says Haveman. “Now the challenge is going to be … when we do say it’s time to go … then the systems go live…then I’ll be up at 2 a.m. … wondering about is it all going to work.”

Haveman hopes to have "Healthy Michigan" ready to roll out in about two weeks.

Michiganders won’t be able to sign up for the expanded Medicaid coverage until sometime in April. That’s after the March 31 federal deadline for people to sign up for health insurance.

Haveman expects the Obama administration will extend the federal deadline, meaning no one in Michigan waiting to sign up for Medicaid expanded coverage should have to pay a penalty. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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