PONTIAC — Oakland County Executive David Coulter and four partner organizations have announced plans to assist about 19,000 county residents in maintaining their Medicaid Healthy Michigan Plan coverage while complying with the requirements of a new state law.
Coulter, joined by representatives from Honor Community Health, OLHSA, Oakland County Michigan Works! and the Oakland County Health Division, said about 19,000 county residents could be at risk. He said a community event is set for Feb. 27 at the Oakland County Michigan Works! Pontiac Service Center, 1850 N. Perry St. in Pontiac, to help current Medicaid Healthy Michigan Plan recipients understand the new law and its requirements.
“Access to health care coverage is vital to the welfare of our residents,” Coulter said. “It is important we take the necessary steps to help residents protect themselves and their benefits and help them understand the requirements of the new law.”
Coulter’s comments were made during a press conference Feb. 19 at the Pontiac center.
Beginning Jan. 1, Michigan law is requiring that some recipients who have Medicaid Healthy Michigan Plan coverage spend at least 80 hours a month either working, attending school or performing other activities such as a job search. A report is then made to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Those who don’t perform the 80 hours risk losing their coverage.
“We want to make sure that people understand the new Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements and exemptions as well as the required monthly reporting,” said Honor Community Health CEO Deb Brinson. “It’s critical for enrollees to know that Honor Community Health have staff and resources to help them navigate these new changes to ensure that their health care coverage continues without disruption.”
Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of workforce development for Oakland County, said access to health care is an important element of workforce development.
“We are all more productive when we are healthy,” Llewellyn said. “We are committed to supporting the community and helping them access health insurance benefits, regardless of whether that is through an employer or the Healthy Michigan Plan. I hope that Healthy Michigan Plan enrollees who need to meet work requirements will visit one of our Oakland County Michigan Works! locations for assistance.”
The Feb. 27 event runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Onsite staff and professionals from four health care organizations — Molina, HAP Empowered, United Healthcare Community Plan and Total Healthcare will be available to counsel and assist Medicaid Healthy Michigan Plan recipients regarding the new requirements. The law and who it affects are spelled out in detail at HealthyMichiganPlan.org.
Access to health care is a priority for Coulter. Earlier this month, he announced the formation of Oakland Health360 to close a major gap in the county health system.
Through a partnership with Honor Community Health, Department of Health & Human Services clinics in Pontiac and Southfield will offer comprehensive, integrated health care. Within 90 days of board approval, services will include general primary care, family planning services and dental care. When complete, the partnership will include mental and behavioral health services and a partnership with Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency to ensure residents have access to insurance coverage, Head Start early childhood education, prescription drug assistance and emergency services such as energy, food and housing assistance.
“If you come in one of our doors to have your child immunized or receive a lead screening, I want you to be able to have a cancer or diabetes screening, talk to a mental health professional, get assistance with prescription drug costs, have a dental checkup and receive primary care,” Coulter said.