Detroit uninsured down 50%, city says

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

The number of uninsured Detroiters has been slashed in half under the federal Affordable Care Act, Detroit’s top health official said Tuesday.

Vernice Anthony, director of the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, announced the reduction during a morning press conference with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

Health officials across the country are encouraging people to enroll for health insurance before open enrollment ends for the health insurance marketplace on Feb. 15.

“Before the health insurance marketplace, there were over 200,000 uninsured in Detroit,” Anthony said. “We have made tremendous progress.

“With the Affordable Care Act, Marketplace and Healthy Michigan, or expanded Medicaid, within this past year, we’ve drastically reduced the uninsured rate about 50 percent. However, there’s a lot more work to be done because there’s still over 100,000 uninsured people in Detroit.”

According to Anthony, more than 20,000 Detroiters purchased insurance plans at during the first open enrollment period, which started on Oct. 1, 2013.

Anthony credited Detroit’s Affordable Care Act Enrollment Coalition, formed by Mayor Mike Duggan, for getting people to sign up.

The coalition includes more than 40 hospitals, government entities, nonprofits and foundations that are urging people to sign up at enrollment fairs and other events.

Burwell made another pitch Tuesday to get more individuals signed up for health insurance with 19 days to go before a Feb. 15 deadline.

“The deadline to sign up for coverage is just a few weeks away,” Burwell said. “We are encouraging Michigan consumers to visit, call the call center or get in touch with a local assister to check out their options for quality, affordable coverage.

“We still have a lot of work to do before Feb. 15, but are encouraged by the strong interest we’ve seen so far.”

Federal officials announced last week that nearly 300,000 Michiganians enrolled for health insurance through the federal government’s website as of Jan. 16.

About 67 percent re-enrolled in a marketplace plan and 33 percent selected a plan for the first time, according to a breakdown released Tuesday.

The numbers include consumers who visited the health insurance marketplace or were automatically re-enrolled in a plan they already have.

Enroll by Feb. 15


Call: 1-800-318-2596 / TTY: 1-855-889-4325

The website and call center are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.