Low income households especially struggle with medical costs, especially in cases of emergency. There are unfortunately many households that try to put off medical care for as long as possible because they are afraid of the costs. In Michigan, there are several different medical assistance programs available, which are designed to help alleviate how expensive medical care often is.
Many of the programs have different requirements, with some programs being aimed at a specific group or gender. Some programs also focus on a specific type of care. Overall, each program shares a couple of the same requirements. These requirements are the size of the household and the total household income. The majority of medical assistance programs also take into account whether or not anyone in the household has a preexisting medical condition, which often allows them to ignore any financial requirements.
Some medical assistance programs provide free assistance, but the majority of programs still have premiums and copays. However, these premiums and copays are significantly lower than the average premiums and copays normally found through traditional health insurance.
Medicaid is one of the largest medical assistance programs available in the United States. The purpose of Medicaid is to provide affordable health care for Michigan residents who would otherwise be unable to afford any sort of health insurance. Through Medicaid, beneficiaries are eligible for health care programs they would normally have to pay for. Many other medical assistance programs also provide automatic benefits for any Medicaid beneficiaries. There are also some age specific programs in Medicaid, such as U-19. U-19 is available for any children who are younger than 19. These beneficiaries receive health care coverage without having to pay any monthly premiums. U-19 includes vision, mental health and dental services.
Medicaid coverage is automatically available for residents who are aged, blind or have a severe disability.
Michigan Low Income Families (LIF)
LIF is a specialized program available through Michigan Medicaid. Any families receiving cash assistance from the Family Independence Program (FIP) are automatically eligible for LIF. Another variant of LIF is known as Special N. Special N is for beneficiaries who lose their Medicaid eligibility due to income they receive from spousal support payments. Through Special N, these beneficiaries are able to receive Medicaid coverage for another four months, giving them time to transition to a different plan.
Michigan Child, more often referred to as MIChild, is a health care program for any residents under the age of 19. The program is very similar to U-19, but it has a much higher income limit. However, there is a $10 monthly premium, but the premium covers all the children in a family. Otherwise, MIChild covers the same services as U-19, including vision, dental and mental health services.
Michigan Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS)
CSHCS is available to anyone younger than 21 years of age who is a legal Michigan resident. Unlike most other medical assistance programs, eligibility is not determined by income. Instead, CSHCS eligibility is determined by whether or not the applicant has any preexisting medical conditions. As of writing, there is over 2,700 medical conditions that determine whether or not an applicant is eligible for CSHCS benefits.
The overall purpose of the program is to provide specialized medical attention to children suffering from an ongoing medical condition. The program focuses not only on medical coverage, but also on providing support for parents and helping them understand what their child is going through and how to best support them. It also helps beneficiaries who feel as though they are not accepted in the community because of their condition.
Applicants must pay a fee to join the program, if they meet all the eligibility requirements. However, the fee is waived for applicants already receiving Medicaid or MIChild. Fees are also waived for applicants that have a court ordered guardian or applicants living in a foster home. Finally, the fee is determined based upon household size as well as total household income.
Maternity Outpatient Medical Services (MOMS)
MOMS is a medical assistance program run by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the program is to provide health coverage for both pregnant and new mothers that do not have any other healthcare. MOMS offers health coverage for outpatient prenatal services as well as any pregnancy related postpartum services up to two months following a pregnancy. MOMS also provides coverage for any labor or delivery services.
Healthy Michigan Plan
The Healthy Michigan Plan is one of the main medical assistance programs available to adult Michigan residents. Applicants must be between the ages of 19 and 64 to qualify, and they must have a total household income that is at least 133 percent below the federal poverty level. In addition, applicants must not be receiving assistance from other programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid. The Healthy Michigan Plan covers most medical services, including hospitalization, maternity care, mental health or laboratory services, prescription drug costs and general pediatric services for 19 and 20 year olds.