The door to health insurance has just opened wide once again for uninsured Americans, and the University of Michigan Health System stands ready to help them enroll and get the care they need.
Now that the Open Enrollment period is under way, U-M counselors can assist anyone who needs to enroll in an Affordable Care Act health plan for the first time, or explore their options if they already have one. The help is free.
And when a wide range of new ACA insurance plans start offering coverage on Jan. 1, UMHS will accept most of them for care.
UMHS already accepts 131 ACA plans directly, and members of other plans can come to UMHS for highly advanced care.
The start of Open Enrollment means that uninsured people who haven’t yet enrolled in insurance plans for themselves and their families can sign up.
Also, those who already have an ACA plan can re-enroll, switch to a new one, or update their personal information to see if they qualify for subsidies and tax credits to lower their costs.
All who act by December 15 will be covered for care starting in January.
The enrollment window for choosing one of these plans offered by private insurance companies closes February 15.
Those who miss the chance to enroll will likely have to pay penalties on their 2015 income taxes – in addition to any penalties they might have to pay for not having insurance in 2014.
At the same time, Michiganders who have household incomes near or below the poverty level can enroll at any time in the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program. Nearly 470,000 residents have already enrolled.
The trained counselors who work at UMHS have a year’s worth of experience in enrolling individuals and families in ACA plans and the Healthy Michigan Plan, and navigating the enrollment website, healthcare.gov.
Any Michigander, no matter whether they have been a patient at UMHS or not, may call UMHS Patient Financial Counselors at (877) 326-9155 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, or email them at PFC-Counselors@med.umich.edu . There are also walk-in stations at several locations on the U-M medical campus.
The UMHS Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools also has several trained counselors available to offer by-appointment help. Call (734) 998-5795 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or email UMHS-RAHS@umich.edu.
Here’s more detail on what you should do during Open Enrollment, depending on your circumstances:
If you have insurance through your job or the government: (private, Medicare, Medicaid, military Tricare or VA)
You’re probably best off with what you have. These plans must provide basic coverage for key tests and treatments.
If you bought insurance via Healthcare.gov in the last year for yourself, your family or small business employees:
You should have received letters from your plan, and from Healthcare.gov, about your options. You can be automatically re-enrolled, but you can also shop for a different plan and enroll any time before February 15, 2015. There are new plans available this year.
Important note: Even if you’re happy with your plan, visit healthcare.gov to update your information, because your subsidies & tax credits may have changed. If your income has changed or will change in 2015, or you’ve had or will have changes in your household, visit Healthcare.gov to make sure you get the right plan, subsidies and tax credits for you.
If you enrolled in a Healthy Michigan Plan option (expanded Medicaid) in 2014:
Your plan will continue, but if your income or household have changed or change in the coming months, be sure to let your plan know.
If you don’t have insurance, or you don’t offer it at your small business:
Now’s the time to get it. Having health insurance is good for your physical & financial health, and the health of your family. If you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay a penalty on the taxes you file for 2014 and beyond. Visit Healthcare.gov to see what plans, subsidies & tax credits you qualify for. Check to make sure a plan covers care at your preferred clinics & hospitals.
Take the next step:
- See more about what UMHS can do to help you or your loved ones understand and enroll in health insurance programs
- Check the list of Affordable Care Act insurance plans that UMHS currently accepts, and the ones we will accept in 2015
- Calculate your likely cost of insurance, including discounts and tax credits, on this handy calculator
For more than 160 years, the University of Michigan Health System has been a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians and medical scientists. The three U-M hospitals have been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including national rankings in many specialty areas by U.S. News & World Report.