5 years after rollout, has Obamacare failed or succeeded in Michigan?
Who has health insurance in Michigan — and how much they or the government pays for it — has changed considerably since the tumultuous day five years ago when the federal government’s Healthcare.gov website crashed during the Affordable Care Act’s rollout.
Despite that early setback, the health care law signed by then-President Barack Obama has since succeeded in offering or expanding insurance coverage to 1.2 million Michiganders, most of whom wouldn’t otherwise be insured today.
Michigan’s uninsured rate was down to 5.2 percent last year, compared with 11 percent in 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
The health care law, commonly known as Obamacare, was primarily designed to extend and subsidize insurance coverage for more people — not rein in medical costs. That is why the price of health insurance continues to increase, even as more Michiganders face large annual deductibles that can reach $3,000 or more per person.
“So at least in that one big metric of the uninsured rate, we have come pretty close to what people would have expected when the act passed,” said Richard Hirth, a professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
The Affordable Care Act’s sixth annual Healthcare.gov marketplace open enrollment begins Thursday and runs to Dec. 15 for plans that begin coverage on Jan. 1. This period is generally the only time of year that individuals can buy insurance on their own outside of significant life events such as a job loss or relocation.
The average sticker price of plans for sale on Michigan’s marketplace is 1.7 percent higher this year than 2017. That is relatively modest compared with last year’s giant 26.9-percent price jump, which was partly because of the Trump administration’s decision to end a type of subsidy for insurance companies called cost-sharing reduction payments.