Looking for 2019 plan information? Check out our Michigan 2019 guide.
Open enrollment ends this Friday, two weeks sooner that last year! That means it's time to kick it into gear to choose a health plan that fits your family's needs, prescriptions, doctors and budget. Michigan has fewer carriers to choose from this year and higher premiums are sweeping across the country. That means you need to be extra strategic this year to make the most of those healthcare dollars. Take Command Health is here to help you compare plans side by side - on-exchange, off-exchange and faith-based - to find the perfect fit your family.
- Shop around. Look beyond Healthcare.gov. Take a look at faith-based sharing plans like Medi-Share (more on that below!) or also off-exchange plans that don't show up on the marketplace. Even though they don't qualify for subsidies, they are less expensive.
- Think beyond the PPO. They are generally the most expensive. An HMO (or “health maintenance organization”) is generally the most affordable, but least flexible network type. An EPO (or “exclusive provider network”) is a hybrid of a HMO and a PPO.
Take advantage of HSAs or tax credits. We see many individuals assume they're not eligible for tax credits when they actually are. Depending on where you live, a family of 3 or 4 that makes $90,000 a year will likely qualify for a tax credit. If you do make too much money for a credit, then you should probably consider using a Health Savings Account (HSA), like the Lively HSA we offer for free with our premier membership. HSAs allow you to pay for your care with tax-free dollars. For high-earners in a higher tax bracket, that’s like a 30 to 35% discount on health costs!
What to know
In 2017, Michigan had 10 insurers and will be dropping down to 8 in 2018 as Humana exits the market and Health Alliance Plan (HAP) will only offer off-exchange plans. This is still quite a few insurers for one state, but keep in mind that insurer participation is somewhat concentrated in the southeast part of the state. In this area, anywhere from four to eight insurers offer coverage in each county. Upper Michigan, however, has just one carrier (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan).
Options for next year
Here's the increases we are seeing for the 8 carriers remaining:
Blue Care Network (HMO): 22.6%
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: 31.7%
McLaren Health Plan (HMO): 26.6%
Meridian (HMO): 59.4% (Meridian has a “heavy enrollment in silver CSR plans” which explains the dramatic difference in the rate increases if CSR are funded versus if they aren’t)
Molina (HMO): 42.8%
Physicians Health Plan: 22.8%
Priority Health (HMO and POS): 19%
Total Health Care USA: 27.59%
A cost-friendly alternative
With such a price hike in rates, many are turning to faith-based ministries like Medishare for coverage, which are available off-exchange. Faith-based Medi-Share has a state-wide PPO network available in 2018 managed by PHCS (Private Healthcare Systems, now owned by Multiplan). It’s smaller than some of the PPO networks in the past, but it does provide flexibility to see your doctors and will cover out-of-network expenses as long as it meets Medi-Share’s faith-based guidelines. Medi-Share won’t be for everyone, but is a worthy option to consider if it fits your personal convictions and lifestyle. Make sure to check out our Medi-Share review and compare it to other major medical plans on our website before you enroll.
Take Command Health is here to help.
These numbers are a little frightening and it can make the task of finding the best health insurance in Michigan that much harder. Not to mention understanding the fine print can be a challenge in and of itself. Take Command Health is here to be your advocate and empower you to find a plan that works for you and your family. In addition to our award-winning tools that will help you make a confident plan choice, we've added some new features we want to let you know about:
- KNOW ALL YOUR OPTIONS: We're pretty confident we have the biggest, most complete line-up of plans in Michigan this year.
- KEEP YOUR DOCTORS: We're expanding the capabilities of our doctor search tool to search doctor networks no matter where the plan is - on exchange, off exchange, and even faith-based plan types.
- ADDED PERKS: We've negotiated some pretty awesome deals for our members. Call a doctor 24/7 for $0, medical bill negotiation support, dental, vision, and pharmacy discounts, etc.
- WE'RE HERE FOR YOU: We've put together a new support team ready to help you tackle any issue. You can get started by chatting with us on our website or emailing us at email@example.com.
Let us walk you through your options on our website. Our goal is to help you get the most out of your money and find the plan that really works for you and your family. Remember you have until this coming Friday (Dec 15th)! Don't put this off any longer.
I wrote this blog because I care about ideas (big and little) that can help fix our healthcare system. I used to work on projects for Kaiser Permanente and the Parkland Health & Hospital System so I've seen the system inside and out. It's so important that consumers keep up with industry shifts and changing health insurance regulations. I'm also Take Command Health's Content Editor and a busy mom. Learn more about me and connect with me on our about us page. Thanks!