Program to Enroll More Michigan Kids in Health Insurance

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"My income is only $800 per month," Ashley Riggle said.

So you can imagine how difficult it was for Riggle to get health insurance for her 2-year-old daughter. In fact, both went without for some time, until she got her little one enrolled into a program called MIChild.

"We get free insurance with the state," she said. "it helps me because every time I take her to the hospital, I don't have to pay for it, or for her medication. I have no copays."

Turns out, there are thousands of kids in the same situation here in Michigan.

"There are about 172,000 kids in the state without health insurance," Phillip Bergquist of Enroll Michigan said. "That's a huge number. That's equal to 6.8 percent of our population under the age of 19."

Bergquist said 100,000 of those kids are eligible for low-cost or free health insurance, but the parents either don't know that, or simply don't sign them up.

"We wanted to put a new emphasis on that to really help kids get the insurance they need," he said.

An initiative called Enroll Michigan started last April to get the word out, and a new program started June first that offers a $10 gift card to anyone that refers a family who eventually signs up.

"A lot of families don't think they're eligible or that they make too much money," Bergquist said.

Marcus Cheatham of the Ingham County Health Department estimates 10,000 kids in our area don't have insurance. He said anything to get them covered is a good thing.

"Years can go by without a well-child visit," Cheatham said. "If that continues, problems can and do develop."

Riggle is happy she did the research and thinks other parents should do the same.

"They should check into it," she said.

** There are three options to refer a family to the program**

-Go to There there are listing for local agents to call.

-Dial 211 and ask for assistance.

-Send an email at

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Health care provider Location: Lansing on Jun 4, 2011 at 06:00 AM
    I am a health care provider who accepts Medicaid and am very frustrated with the system! Procedures we would get 200.00 for from regular insurance company's we only get 30.00 for from Medicaid. I love to see these children come in with PSP, IPods stuff I don't even have. The one thing that really gets me is they are my patients who constantly cancel or no show for appointments. I feel so sorry for these kids. I think before a person can receive Medicaid they have to go through some training classes and be randomly drug tested on a regular basis.
  • by Angela Location: Eaton Rapids on Jun 4, 2011 at 12:05 AM
    How can people be so cruel? MiChild is a GREAT program. My children all have it for secondary insurance. My husband works full time plus. We have private insurance also. We don't pay out of pocket exspenses for them at all because of it. I am very thankful for the program. It's really great the state has this program. People need to be more grateful and consider others, you don't know someone's situation, so it's not right to assume/judge. Who cares if our taxes go to pay for this, yes we pay taxes too, it's our duty to help one another. Children should never go without insurance. What's wrong with society these days, many uncaring, selfish, people. It's a shame.God wants us to help others and it is a shame that some programs are abused, yes. You should really Think about what you say before you say things about people, you never know when you'll be in the same boat.
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Jun 3, 2011 at 09:43 AM
    'We get free insurance' -- is that what she said? That's the problem with our entire country. Hey lady, it isn't free! The rest of us are working hard to pay for you and your child. Where is the child's father? Why didn't you or the father have employment that provided insurance benefits BEFORE you had a child? If you can't afford to have a child, and pay for all of their necesssities, then you have no business bringing one into the world. It isn't fair to the rest of us, and it certainly isn't fair to the child.
  • by Belle Location: Lansing on Jun 3, 2011 at 08:05 AM
    You can't find a good doctor who takes this insurance anyway. When you do, the waiting list is horrible and the office and rooms or very poor looking.
  • by MikeHunt Location: Center on Jun 3, 2011 at 01:38 AM
    Im sure Snyder will put an end to this, after all this is a form of Welfare and a form of Government health care. Snyder hates the poor even more than he hates the middle class.
  • by otisgaines Location: ca on Jun 3, 2011 at 12:01 AM
    I believe this is correct. I also believe this is the kind of plan that we are likley to end up with, though somewhat less generous as it will be forced on us by our creditors who won't give a hair about healthcare for seniors and the needy. Read "Penny Health Insurance" articles if you dont have insurance.
  • by linn Location: pleasant lake on Jun 2, 2011 at 03:21 PM
    yea, and if your kid gets real sick,you are screwed. they wont pay,and the hoops you have to jump through to get the meds approved is the time they are approved,you might be dead. might as well not have any insurance at all.pathetic joke....
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