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 is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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