Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region V Director Kathleen Falk, State Representative Winnie Brinks (HD-76), and West Michigan enrollment coalition partners, including Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, joined Get Covered America (GCA) to update the community on the state of enrollment and urge consumers to act before February 15. The group held a news conference on Friday, January 16, attended by several local media outlets.
“The Affordable Care Act has already helped 12,000 Kent County residents obtain quality health coverage that gives them access to medical care and ultimately makes our community stronger,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. “I encourage all Grand Rapids residents and members of the broader West Michigan community to start their shopping now and get covered before the February 15 deadline.”
In the first month of the second open enrollment period, 123,208 Michiganders enrolled (53%) or re-enrolled (47%) in a Marketplace plan. 89 percent of those consumers received financial assistance to help them afford coverage, which is an increase of two percentage points from the first open enrollment period. During the press conference, officials urged West Michigan individuals and families to act before the before February 15, the last day of open enrollment. Consumers who enroll on or before February 15 will have coverage that begins on March 1.
“The recent numbers released by HHS demonstrate that there continues to be a true hunger for the new coverage options,” said State Representative Winnie Brinks (HD-76). “Individuals and families who have enrolled no longer have to decide whether to keep the lights on or get a prescription filled. Michiganders are now in the driver’s seat of their healthcare decisions; we just need to let them know what’s available to them.”
GCA’s survey also found that consumers who received the help of an in-person enrollment assister were more than twice as likely to enroll successfully as those who did not seek that help. Officials stressed that free, professional enrollment assisters are available across West Michigan and ready to help consumers. Free enrollment events are scheduled in West Michigan through the end of the open enrollment period. To find a local expert who can sit down with you for free and help you understand your coverage options, visit the Get Covered Connector at https://www.getcoveredamerica.org/connector/.