via the Michigan Dept. of Insurance & Financial Services (DIFS):

New DIFS Bulletin to Protect LGBTQ+ Michiganders from Discrimination in Insurance, Financial Markets

March 17, 2023

(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) has issued a bulletin that reaffirms the department’s commitment to protecting Michiganders from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in the insurance or financial services industries. The bulletin ensures that the insurance and financial services industries, including health insurance, must comply with the newly-amended Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act as signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer yesterday afternoon.


Dear Governor Whitmer, House Speaker Tate, Senate Majority Leader Brinks, House Health Policy Committee Chair Rogers & Senate Health Policy Chair Hertel:

Five years ago, ahead of the 2018 midterm election, I wrote an open letter to all Michigan Democratic legislative candidates with a healthcare policy wish list. It included 26 ways to Protect, Repair & Strengthen the #ACA at the state level, several of which overlapped with the Democratic caucus's "Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights."

Unfortunately, while Democrats made large gains in Michigan in 2018, we didn't quite flip control of either the state House or Senate; it would take another four years to pull that off. Fortunately, that did happen last November, giving Democrats a trifecta in the House, Senate and Governor's office at the same time for the first time in decades, so it's time for me to compile an updated version of my Michigan healthcare policy wish list.

I didn't write about the Kansas abortion ban amendment vote back in August, but I should have:

Voters in Kansas rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment Tuesday that would have said there was no right to an abortion in the state, according to The Associated Press.

Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson's Women's Health Organization.

President Joe Biden hailed Tuesday's vote and called on Congress to pass a law to restore nationwide abortion rights that were provided by Roe.

"This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions," Biden said in a statement.

The statewide abortion ban ballot proposal, in a fairly solidly red state, ended up failing by a massive 18 points, with 544,000 voting against it and only 378,00 in favor of it.


Via the Michigan Dept. of Insurance & Financial Services:

Gov. Whitmer Encourages Michiganders to Take Advantage of Savings on New Health Plan Choices During Open Enrollment

November 01, 2022

(LANSING, MICH) Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox are reminding Michiganders that the annual Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period begins today and runs through January 15, 2023. With savings still in effect making health insurance more affordable for more Michiganders, new grants for free local help, and more plan options than last year, shopping for health insurance has never been easier.


via the Michigan Dept. of Insurance & Financial Services:

(LANSING, MICH) State of Michigan health leaders are advising Michiganders that a Texas federal judge’s decision in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Xavier Becerra does not currently change the preventive care to which they are entitled under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Though the Braidwood ruling does not take immediate effect, and proceedings are ongoing, this case could ultimately have long-term impacts on the ACA and the health of Americans nationwide.


08/24/22: See updates below

A few years ago (just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit U.S. shores), I posted a lengthy, wonky entry about healthcare plans for college students and how they're a perfect example of how dramatically one insurance risk pool can vary from another.

This post was very personal for me because it was inspired by my own family moving from an ACA exchange individual market policy over to the student plan my wife (and therefore our son and myself) qualifies for due to her enrolling at Oakland University here in Michigan, where she's getting her counseling degree.

The plan being offered to all students (including graduate students and their families) was a Gold PPO through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Here's how it compared against the closest equivalent policies available on the ACA exchange at the time, assuming we didn't qualify for any ACA subsidies (remember, this was before the American Rescue Plan beefed up & enhanced the subsidies to those earning more than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level):


via the Michigan Dept. of Insurance & Financial Services:

(LANSING, MICH) Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox is applauding Congress and the Biden Administration for enacting the Inflation Reduction Act which, in part, will extend increased Health Insurance Marketplace premium subsidies for another three years. These subsidies, first expanded by the American Rescue Plan, have enabled 4 out of 5 enrolled Americans to find health insurance for less than $10 per month on HealthCare.gov. 


A few weeks ago I compiled the weighted average 2023 premium rate filings for Michigan's individual and small group markets. At the time, I came up with average rate hikes of 6.8% for the ACA individual market and 6.8% for the small group market.

Today, the Michigan Dept. of Financial Services posted the official preliminary 2023 filings, and while I was dead on for most of the carriers, I was off slightly for a few of them:

Michiganders to Have More Opportunities to Shop Around During Upcoming Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period


The Michigan Dept. of Insurance & Financial Services hasn't issued any press releases yet, so it's conceivable that these may change, but Michigan's preliminary 2023 individual & small group market health insurance policy rate filings appear to be pretty complete on the SERFF database.

Alliance Health & Life Insurance Co:

The following are the key drivers of the requested rate change.


It's particularly embarrassing for me to not have had this development on my radar seeing how I'm a life-long Michigander who also personally knows at least two of the state legislators onboard. Regardless, this is pretty exciting news from a healthcare policy wonk perspective:

The Michigan Legislature is considering joining the 18 other states that have established state-run health insurance marketplaces through HB 6112. Having an exchange run by the state instead of the federal government, supporters of the bill say, will save Michiganders money by leaving the “rigid and inflexible” federal market for a Michigan-tailored market that can be more responsive and potentially lower premiums. The bill is still in the early days of the legislative process, awaiting a vote from the House Health Policy Committee.

Sure enough, from last week: