Gov. Whitmer leads coalition calling on Trump Administration to increase affordable healthcare during coronavirus pandemic

(KOTA)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 12:27 PM EDT
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer is leading a coalition of 12 governors calling on the Trump Administration to increase access to affordable healthcare, according to the governor's office.

Gov. Whitmer's office said the coalition, comprised of governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma asking the administration to "take swift action to allow for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal healthcare exchange."

“Too many of our constituents are uninsured or underinsured despite the steps we’ve taken at the state level,” the governors said. “As a result, far too many of our residents are choosing to forgo coronavirus testing and treatment out of fear of the potential costs to themselves and their families. It is essential that we remove every barrier as quickly as possible to ensure those in our states and across the country are able to access the treatment they need. One of the most effective ways this can be done is by opening up a federal special enrollment period to give everyone the chance to enroll in a health plan that offers the coverage they need with access to any qualifying subsidies.”

Back on March 12, Gov. Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox asked the Trump Administration to allow for a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to that, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters urged the administration to open a special enrollment period to allow people without health insurance or short-term plans to purchase a health care plan through the health insurance marketplaces, the governor's office said.

“During this crisis, we must do everything we can to ensure access to quality, affordable health care,” said Governor Whitmer. “That’s why we’re calling on the Trump Administration to do the right thing, reconsider its decision, and allow for a special enrollment period, and it’s also why we’re taking action in Michigan to expand opportunities for safe, quality care. We will continue to work with our partners across both state and federal government, as well as those in the private sector, to ensure Michiganders everywhere can access the care they need.”

Back on March 10, DIFS announced the state had received agreements from nearly all of the state's health insurance companies to waive the cost-sharing, including copays, deductible and coinsurance for coronavirus testing and treatments, the governor's office said.

Whitmer's office said those who have these individual and group health plans will not be charged cost-sharing for coronavirus-related medical treatment such as primary care visits, lab testing, emergency room visits, ambulance services and FDA-approved medications and vaccines for coronavirus when they become available.

To view the full letter sent by the coalition, click

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