Michiganders can apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act until Jan. 16

President Joe Biden checks his watch while answering questions during a news conference on January 19, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Kyle Kaminski

January 3, 2024

Cost-saving measures included in President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act can provide health insurance coverage to 80% of Michiganders for less than $10 a month. But open enrollment is coming to a close this month. 

MICHIGAN—More than 15 million Americans have already enrolled in a healthcare insurance plan for 2024 through the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, according to federal data released on Dec. 20.

That marks a record-breaking 33% increase compared to the same time last year.. And because of President Joe Biden’s efforts to lower costs with the Inflation Reduction Act, about 80% of Michiganders will be eligible to get insurance coverage for $10 or less per month this year.

But the clock is ticking for those who haven’t signed up and still need coverage.

The open enrollment period for health insurance plans ends this month. So in order to get coverage that begins Feb. 1, Michiganders must sign up no later than Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Federal officials said about 4.6 million more Americans are eligible for tax credits this year to help lower their insurance premiums under provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

They just need to fill out an online application to get them.

Even Michiganders who are satisfied with their current health plan have been encouraged to update their marketplace application to ensure they’re getting the most savings they can get.

State officials are also available to help. Call 877-999-6442 for more details on getting started.

‘Saving Real Money’

When Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in 2022, it marked a major effort in lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs. More than a year later, Michiganders are still reaping the benefits of the bill, which extended generous subsidies (through 2025) that helped make Affordable Care Act health insurance plans more affordable for working- and middle-class families. 

Roughly 63,000 Michiganders were set to lose their individual coverage had those subsidies instead been left to expire.

Other provisions ensure that all families will be eligible for plans that require them to pay no more than 8.5% of their income toward health insurance coverage, and ensure that Americans with incomes at or below the federal poverty line don’t have to pay a monthly premium at all.

All told, the measures included in the Inflation Reduction Act are saving about 85% of Michiganders with ACA coverage an average of about $414 on their monthly healthcare insurance premiums, officials estimate.

The law also included Medicare reforms that sharply lowered drug costs for many of the roughly 1.8 million Michigan seniors with Medicare Part D coverage.

Beyond the notoriously expensive shingles vaccine, the law also includes no-cost coverage for a wide array of other shots, including for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis, influenza, and COVID-19. The Inflation Reduction Act also put a $2,000 cap on Medicare recipients annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, beginning next year. In Michigan, an estimated 672,860 seniors are expected to save $365 a year due to this provision, according to a federal analysis.

Finally, the law established a $35 monthly cap on insulin for Medicare recipients.

‘War on Healthcare’

In recent months, former President Donald Trump—who spent his first term trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act—has again attacked the legislation, noting in November that he was “seriously looking at alternatives.” He also criticized the few Republican holdouts who voted “not to terminate it” back in 2017, including the now deceased former Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

The suggestion was initially met with crickets from fellow Republicans who haven’t thought seriously about repealing the law in years. But some prominent Republican politicians (like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis) have since latched onto the idea in their own campaigns.

With Biden still in office, the Affordable Care Act is safe. But if Donald Trump wins the presidency and enough Republicans are elected, the law could once again be at risk of repeal.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act would rip away healthcare insurance from nearly 40 million Americans who get coverage through the ACA marketplace or its Medicaid expansion, and enable insurance companies to once again deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

In Michigan, about 1.3 million people would lose their insurance and about 1.8 million with pre-existing health conditions could lose critical protections, federal estimates show.

Advocates have said that the loss of the ACA would be particularly devastating for people of color, older adults, rural communities, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community.

“Anyone who thought the Republican war on health care was over has their head in the sand,” Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, said in a statement last year. “Donald Trump once again opened the door for Republicans to tell the truth on health care: they want to repeal the ACA and rip away protections that touch nearly every household in this country.”

Last year,, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills to embed several provisions of the Affordable Care Act into state law, ensuring that Michiganders are at least temporarily protected from any attempts by Republicans in Congress to repeal them—or to have courts strike them down.

In addition to allowing dependents to remain on a parent’s insurance plan until age 26, the bills mirror federal law in preventing insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or discriminating against patients based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Other recently signed state laws in Michigan—all of which mirror the Affordable Care Act—will prohibit insurers from instituting annual or lifetime limits on coverage and require them to provide coverage for specified services like hospitalization, pregnancy, and emergency services.

READ MORE: Republicans vow to take away insurance from 1.3 million Michiganders

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to correct a date. 

For the latest Michigan news, follow The ‘Gander on Twitter.

Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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