Focus, Government, and Health Care

Insurers file to be part of state’s health care exchange

All employers will have to inform employees soon of insurance options.

July 12, 2013
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As it now stands, Michigan residents and businesses will be able to choose a health insurance policy from 14 insurers when the state’s exchange site becomes operational Oct. 1 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Thirteen of the insurance companies will offer individual plans and 11 of those will also offer small group policies. One will only offer a small group plan.

“I am pleased with the number of companies that submitted Qualified Health Plans in Michigan. The large amount of participation will foster competition and provide many choices for Michigan families and businesses,” said Kevin Clinton, director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, in a statement.

Alliance Health and Life, Blue Care Network, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Consumers Mutual Insurance, Health Alliance Plan, McLaren Health Plan, Physicians Health Plan, Priority Health, Priority Health Insurance and Total Health Care USA will offer individual and small group coverage on the exchange.

Humana Medical Plan, Meridian Health Plan and Molina Health Care will offer individual coverage. United Healthcare will offer small group insurance.

Clinton said his office will review the plans to ensure that each one is in compliance with federal and state laws. Although the exchange will open Oct. 1, the policies won’t become effective until Jan. 1.

The state’s insurance exchange will be run by the federal government as the Republican-controlled Legislature refused to allow Lansing to have any managerial role in it. About 25 other states have done the same, and some analysts have said a lack of state involvement in those exchanges is likely to lead to a national, single-payer health insurance plan in the future.

The Employment Law Group at Rhoades McKee said all employers are required to inform all employees of their health care options beginning Oct. 1. New employees have to be informed of those options when they are hired. Even firms that do not offer health coverage must comply with the requirement.

The rule, which had been delayed for a time, is part of PPACA. Notices that employers can use are available from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Beginning Jan. 1, employers will have 14 days from a new worker’s starting date to provide that information.

Rhoades McKee also said the labor department has issued a new COBRA Election Notice of which employers should be aware. The revised version lifts the language regarding coverage limitations because, starting next year, insurers won’t be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. The DOL also has made that notice available.

For more information on the health insurance exchange, visit healthcare.gov.

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