Low-income Michiganders target of new health insurance cooperative

May 13, 2013

37,000 low-income Michiganders and small-business customers may be eligible for health coverage through a new health insurance cooperative, the Lansing State Journal reports.

With $72 million in federal funding, Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan is an alternative health care option for families and businesses looking for coverage after provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect January 2014.

Pending final approval from the state’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services, Consumers Mutual hopes to create a coverage network spanning from “suburban Detroit to the Upper Peninsula,” said the LSJ.

The cooperative will be based in East Lansing.

Low-income families would be the primary aim of the cooperative’s coverage:

“Consumers Mutual will target Michigan residents with household incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or between about $26,000 and $78,000 annually for a family of three. Small businesses also would be included.

People below the threshold who are not eligible for health insurance from other sources can apply for federal subsidies to offset the cost of their premiums.”

The cooperative works like a credit union: those who buy into the coverage would be partial owners, and would hold 51 percent representation on Consumers Mutual’s board.

The group plans to begin selling insurance on October 1, when open enrollment starts. It's also the same time the Michigan Health Insurance Exchange begins under the Affordable Care Act.