Health care reform in Michigan may not see large enrollment increases

Health Care Reform Updates

An exec in the state has suggested that she has doubts about the number of sign ups to come before March 31.

In order to comply with the federal health care reform law throughout the United States, people without insurance now have only two and a half more months to enroll into the government subsidized plans in order to avoid facing a tax penalty.

That said, a Michigan insurance executive has expressed doubts regarding the new enrollment that will occur.

Health Care Reform UpdatesJoan Budden, the chief marketing officer of Priority Health has expressed in an interview that even though the insurer did experience an increase of 30 percent in the number of customers who are purchasing individual plans since the implementation of the latest major element of the health care reform, she doubts that there will be as much of a decrease in the rate of uninsured in the state of Michigan.

In fact, she feels that the net number of people purchasing coverage though the health care reform will dip or flatten.

Budden said that the last quarter of last year increased the number of individual health insurance plan purchasers at her company from 20,000 to 26,000, the majority of the new customers were switching from other insurers who had cancelled policies that did not conform to the new law’s requirements, or were people purchasing after their employers dropped their coverage. This means that the actual increase in the number of insured people may not be as high as it would have appeared based on the available statistics.

She has also stated that she estimates that only 10 percent of the customers purchased new law compliant plans. The remainder decided to buy the older, cheaper plans, which the state has allowed the insurer to continue selling on a temporary basis, even before the President made it possible for all insurers to continue selling the canceled plans until the end of this year.

Last year, Michigan had approximately 275,000 residents within the individual health insurance market. It is anticipated that this should increase by an additional 250,000 people by the close of this year as a result of the health care reform. However, Budden expressed that “I don’t think we’ve gotten a fraction of that”.

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