LANSING, June 8, 2023 — The House Insurance and Financial Services Committee heard testimony on House Bills 4619-23 today. The bill package aims to safeguard protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into state law. The ACA requires nearly all private health plans to cover many critical preventive services without cost sharing — these bills serve to codify those reforms and protections in Michigan statute. Furthermore, codifying ACA preventive services helps to protect Michiganders from the will of federal judges who threaten to jeopardize health insurance protections. The legislative package was introduced by state Reps. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), Kimberly Edwards (D-Eastpointe), John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming), Reggie Miller (D-Van Buren Township) and Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth). 


HB 4619 bans health insurers from denying coverage based on gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression. This legislation also adds to existing protections from discrimination by insurance companies based on race, color, creed, marital status and sex. 


“As a physical therapist, I am very familiar with the importance of access to high quality, affordable health care,” Rogers said. “My bill preserves access to care and insurance by safeguarding some of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Let me be clear that this bill package does not go beyond what is already provided by the ACA. And an important element of the federal act is that it protects consumers from being discriminated against based on their gender or sexuality. There are states that are trying to jeopardize ACA protections, and my colleagues and I won’t allow that for our residents. This legislation helps protect all Michiganders — no matter how they express themselves — by ensuring they get the coverage they need and the protections they deserve.” 


HB 4620 upholds federal law that prohibits insurers from refusing to provide health coverage based on preexisting physical or mental health conditions. According to a Gallup poll, 43% of American households have a family member with a preexisting condition. 


“It’s people with chronic diseases who often most require that access to insurance is protected, and the ACA was put into place to protect that access and to make sure insurance companies cannot discriminate against or limit coverage to people just because they have a preexisting condition,” Edwards said. “I for one am devastated every time I see someone have to resort to starting a GoFundMe as a last resort to pay for treatment. I do not want to see an increase in these GoFundMe’s as a result of a lack of legislative action. So, we need to make sure that the ACA is strongly enshrined in Michigan for people with preexisting conditions, and for all Michiganders for that matter. My bill helps ensure equity and accessibility to health insurance and federal protections.” 


HB 4621 requires insurers to allow dependent health coverage to policyholders, and it would allow the dependent to continue to stay on their guardians’ insurance until the age of 26. Furthermore, it codifies the opportunity for Michiganders with disabilities to continue to stay on their guardian insurance past the age of 26, which guarantees those with disabilities receive necessary coverage.


“Acquiring and retaining insurance can be a worrisome task for many, which is one of the many reasons why ACA protections need to be made law in Michigan,” Fitzgerald said. “Families with dependents and those with disabilities cannot be at risk of losing coverage. That is not an option for Michiganders. Therefore, my colleagues and I have your back. The policy that comes out of my bill preserves ACA protections provided under federal law, which can alleviate some of the worries Michigan families may feel. Plus, preventing these protections from becoming eroded also serves as a retention and recruitment tool, keeping Michiganders here and attracting more residents to our great state.”


HB 4622 eliminates the possibility of insurers putting annual and lifetime limits on benefits. 


“With annual caps on insurance, Michiganders may have to worry about paying out of pocket for necessary medical procedures if they go past the limits on benefits,” Miller said. “This bill helps continue to protect Michigan residents from such issues by preserving access to ACA services and protections.” 


Lastly, HB 4623 mandates that insurers in Michigan offer coverage that is guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. This coverage includes hospitalization, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, pregnancy, infant care and preventive services like dentistry. 


“There is a reason the ACA is overwhelmingly popular — it guarantees coverage for essential health services that people rely on,” Koleszar said. “Those essential services are extremely important, which is why we need health care to be accessible and affordable. That is why my colleagues and I are advocating for the kinds of quality preventive care we all need. Really what is at the core of my bill is securing essential health benefits for the people of Michigan; it’s that simple, it’s that important.”