Michigan Health Endowment Fund announces $120 million Medigap subsidy for low-income residents

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund recently announced the creation of the Michigan Medigap Subsidy and commitment of $120 million to fund the subsidy over a four-year period. The subsidy is designed to help low-income seniors and disabled individuals pay for Medigap insurance, used to supplement Medicare.

The subsidy will be available to Medicare eligible Michigan residents with an annual income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($17,820 or less for an individual and $24,030 or less for a couple). The program will cover roughly 79,000 Michigan residents.

“The core mission of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is to protect seniors and improve the health of the state,” said Paul Hillegonds, chief executive officer of the Health Fund. “This subsidy was designed to provide meaningful assistance to as many low-income seniors and disabled individuals as possible.”

To determine subsidy amounts and eligibility, the Health Fund sought input from all major senior and disability advocates, including Area Agencies on Aging and AARP; insurance carriers; and state government officials and departments.

“We are so pleased that the Health Fund reached out regarding the subsidy, and sought input from groups representing beneficiaries,” said Sarah Slocum, director of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Calling the subsidy a “Goldilocks plan,” Slocum praised the “timely, strategic, and robust conversation” the Health Fund initiated with stakeholders.

For those who qualify, the monthly subsidy will be:

• $125 for individuals under 65 who have a disability;

• $40 for individuals between the ages of 65 and 75;

• $65 for individuals 76 or older.

The subsidy is only available to Medicare-eligible individuals who are enrolled in Medigap plans under participating insurers: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network, Health Alliance Plan of Michigan (HAP), Priority Health and United/AARP.

Medigap policyholders will be able to apply for the subsidy online, by phone or by mail beginning on Oct. 1. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 15 for coverage beginning on Jan. 1. More information is available at MichiganMedigapSubsidy.com or by calling 1-866-824-9772 (TTY: 1-866-824-7002).