MDHHS takes preemptive steps to prepare Healthy Michigan Plan
beneficiaries for work requirements
LANSING, Sept. 12, 2019: The Michigan Department of Health
and Human Services (MDHHS) is taking another step in its
efforts to preserve coverage for Healthy Michigan Plan
beneficiaries by mailing new informational letters to program
enrollees. Beneficiaries who will be affected by new work
requirements beginning in January will receive mailed
notifications starting this month in MDHHS’s most significant
step yet to inform enrollees and help preserve their health
MDHHS began sending notification letters on Tuesday to more than
270,000 Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries who currently are
not exempt from the work requirements based on department
records. To retain coverage, these individuals must comply with
the new requirements beginning in January.
“These letters are an important step in MDHHS’s multifaceted
plan to give Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries clear
information about what they need to do to continue their
coverage,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon.
“We are doing everything in our power so that individuals can
comply with this complex and demanding statute. Clear
communication is key.”
The letter notifies beneficiaries that beginning Jan. 1, 2020,
they will be required to report to MDHHS each month 80 hours of
work or other eligible activities, such as job training. It lets
them know that if they do not report, they could lose their
health care coverage. Beneficiaries are also advised that they
will receive more information in December about how to inform
MDHHS about their work activities.
A form is included for beneficiaries to fill out if they meet
one of the exemptions from the work requirements – such as being
medically frail or a full-time student.
Michigan enacted its highly successful Healthy Michigan Plan
effective April 1, 2014, after bipartisan approval of
legislation that expanded Medicaid to more than 650,000
additional people with incomes at or below 133 percent of the
federal poverty level.
According to research from the University of Michigan,
the Healthy Michigan Plan has more than doubled primary care
usage, reduced enrollees’ reliance on the emergency room by 58
percent, cut uncompensated care by nearly 50 percent, and added
$2.3 billion to the state’s economy.
In 2018, the Legislature voted to implement work requirements
for Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries upon approval from the
federal government, which occurred in December.
MDHHS partnered with the firm MAXIMUS to use what’s called
human-centered design in developing the informational letters.
The idea is to make the letters easy to read and understand by
using simple, vivid language, large fonts, bright colors and
clear asks. Research from the field of behavioral science has
shown that changes of this kind have a meaningful impact on
MDHHS has also put in place a communication plan to get the word
out about the upcoming work requirements. The department has
hosted webinars for community partners and providers and will
build upon these efforts throughout the fall with paid
advertising, media outreach, social media posts and additional
outreach to community partners and stakeholders who work with
people who may be affected.
In October, notifications will also go out to Healthy Michigan
Plan beneficiaries who are exempt from the work requirements,
including people who will be age 62 and older.
Learn more about the Healthy Michigan Plan at HealthyMichiganPlan.org and
about the work requirements and other changes on the Changes
Coming in 2020 tab.