Lawmakers in the state are currently considering the way to spend their $31 million healthcare grant.
The Governor Rick Snyder administration has instructed Michigan lawmakers to consider the $31 million grant that the federal government provided in order to establish the state’s health insurance exchange, as their approval will be required within the next few weeks.
This is meant to ensure that a consumer friendly coverage marketplace will be effectively established.
This is a requirement of the federal healthcare overhaul. Should the spending of the money for the health insurance marketplace not receive the approval of the state’s lawmakers, then it will be faced with a considerable bill. Last year, the Republicans in Michigan rejected the request by the governor (also Republican) to use the federal funds for a marketplace that would be established and operated by the state.
This health insurance issue continues to rise on the priority list as open enrollment for the state is only months away.
In October, open enrollment will start on the health insurance exchanges. This will apply to hundreds of thousands of residents of Michigan, who are currently uninsured. Snyder’s latest proposal is looking into a partnership that could be formed with the federal government, which would allow the state to take part, but that would mean that the marketplace would primarily be under federal control.
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Regardless of who runs the exchange in the state, Michigan will be required to make considerable changes in its technology in order to be able to connect with the federal online exchange. This is required as it will be used in order to help determine who is eligible for Medicaid, and whether or not they qualify for federal aid based on income, should they purchase their coverage through the marketplace.
According to Chris Priest, the head of the management of the exchange project within the state, when speaking to a House budget subcommittee “We are still going to get calls. People are going to be coming to the state with questions. That is an administrative cost.” By spending the grant money, said Priest, it will allow the state to be able to use those funds instead of having to divert the state’s own money from going into another direction within their budget.