Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Feds award $2.5 million to help public with state insurance exchange

Posted on: August 15th, 2013 by

ahmed_largeLess than two months from the launch of the state’s online insurance marketplace, four Michigan organizations have been handed $2.5 million in federal funds to help consumers navigate the new system.

The health insurance exchange, part of federal health care reform, goes live Oct. 1, allowing Michigan consumers to purchase what the Obama administration has said will be affordable health insurance.

Under the federal law, nearly everyone will have to carry health insurance or face tax penalties. The Michigan exchange will include as many as 14 plans.

But while many consumers will be able to find policies easily on the exchange, others might face obstacles — a language barrier, a physical or visual disability, a lack of computer skills, or a lack of understanding of insurance basics — said Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare.

Consumers for Healthcare, one of the major advocates of the Affordable Care Act in Michigan, will receive more than $1.3 million, the largest sum of money in Michigan from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS announced today $67 million in funds that were promised to the states to hire and train “navigators” who would work with community groups to help people enroll in the exchange.

In addition to the funds for Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, grants were awarded to Linden-based Community Bridges Management, which administers public health plans in Wayne and Oakland counties ($896,366); Dearborn-based Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services ($276,593), and Detroit-based American Indian Health & Family Services of Southeastern Michigan. ($49,583.50).

Some groups most likely would use the federal funds to pay for new positions, but others suggested other models.

Hazaert said Michigan Consumers will work with its 220 nonprofit partners throughout the state, using the money to reimburse them $25 for each client the nonprofit signed up in the exchange.

“It’s an incentive to help make this part of their mission — getting people enrolled” in the exchange, Hazaert said.

Community Bridges will use the money, in part, to hire part- and full-time navigators to work in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Genesee counties, said Ibraham Ahmed, president and CEO.

The idea is to reach as many people as possible, including those who may have never been approached about insurance.

“There will even be people out seeking the homeless,” he said.

Contact Robin Erb: or 313-222-2708. Follow her on Twitter


Michigan received $80 million under Affordable Care Act to improve access to health care, report says

Posted on: September 17th, 2012 by

healthnavigatorgrant_lIn the first two years of the Affordable Care Act,Michigan received $82.5 million in grants to prepare for the increased number of people who will have health insurance under the health reform plan, a new report shows.

The majority of the money went to programs that train nurses and doctors and to community health centers that serve low-income patients, according to the report by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

“People are very focused on the coverage parts of the Affordable Care Act and may not be as aware that the act also is doing a lot to provide more access to care,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips, the center’s director.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a little more than $1 billion in 2010 and $2.5 billion in 2011 in ACA funding, the report shows. Michigan ranked in the top 15 states in total funding; however, in per-capita funding it ranked 39th in 2010 and 44th in 2011.

Areas targeted for funding included community-based disease-prevention programs, maternal and child health, and programs that help the state prepare for changes in the health insurance market.

The focus is on preparing to meet the needs of the increased number of patients expected to have insurance under the planned expansion of Medicaid and with the individual mandate and subsidies to buy insurance.

“Those who are uninsured today tend to get (medical care) in emergency rooms and only when they are in more serious situations,” Udow-Phillips said. “With the expansion of Medicaid, the expectation is more of them will get primary care and preventive services and the like. That’s what we’ve seen in Massachusetts.”

The expansion of the federally qualified health centers is particularly important to meeting the needs of low-income patients, she said. Although training more primary care physicians is also critical, “more primary care physicians doesn’t guarantee more access for Medicaid patients,” she said. The health centers “go beyond providing physicians and really focus on the low-income, Medicaid portion.”

In coming years, the Affordable Care Act grants will focus on innovations in improving quality of care and efficiency in the health care system, Udow-Phillips said.

“We would encourage more people to get out and apply for these grants,” she said.

The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation aims to serve as a resource for organizations seeking funding, she added. The Ann Arbor-based center is a nonprofit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan that works to improve health care and expand access to care.


In 2010 and 2011, Michigan received $82.6 million in grants under the Affordable Care Act. The two areas that received most funding were

• Workforce training and development: $26.5 million
— Included grants to increase number of physician residents in primary care and to expand nursing education
• Community health centers: $26.1 million

Top 10 Michigan institutions receiving funding:

State of Michigan: $27 million
Family Health Center: $9.7 million
University of Michigan: $8.3 million
Cherry Street Services: $6.3 million
Wayne State University: $5.7 million
Spectrum Health: $3.8 million
Michigan State University: $3.4 million
Center for Family Health: $3.4 million
Grand Valley State University: $2.3 million
Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan: $2 million

SOURCE: the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation


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