ANN ARBOR, Mich. — One year ago, the first Michiganders gained health insurance coverage under the Healthy Michigan Plan, a unique form of Medicaid expansion tailored to the state’s residents.
Now, more than 603,000 people have coverage under the plan -- and University of Michigan researchers are hard at work to study how the new coverage affected them, their health care providers, and the state as a whole.
The U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation runs the evaluation project, through a five-year contract with the Michigan Department of Community Health. It’s required by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that allowed Michigan to customize its Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act.
In general, the Healthy Michigan Plan aims to improve access to high-quality health care and encourage healthy behaviors among low-income Michiganders, while reducing uncompensated care and the number of uninsured residents of the state.
The Healthy Michigan Plan is open to adults between the ages of 18 and 64 with an income less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000 per year for a single adult) who is not eligible for another insurance plan.
New numbers released today by the state shows a pent-up demand for the program, for which more people signed up in one year than were projected to enroll in total. So far, plan members have had 344,000 primary care appointments, 116,000 preventive care visits, 35,000 mammograms and 17,000 colonoscopies.
IHPI director John Z. Ayanian, M.D., MPP, and 18 other U-M faculty members will probe data like this to study enrollment patterns, health spending, health-related behaviors and health outcomes. They’ll also conduct focus groups in 5 communities across the state and survey plan participants and primary care providers.
IHPI is well positioned to carry out the evaluation. It brings together more than 450 health care researchers and health policy experts who hold faculty appointments in 12 schools and colleges at the University of Michigan. IHPI provides them with services and programs to enhance their own work and encourage collaboration with others.
Healthy Michigan Plan: www.healthymichiganplan.org
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