Legislation codifies ACA’s consumer-friendly provisions in state law

LANSING, Mich., June 27, 2023 — The Michigan House of Representatives approved legislation today that puts certain protections of 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. Furthermore, enshrining ACA preventive services helps to protect Michiganders from the will of federal judges who threaten to jeopardize health insurance protections.

State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) speaks in support of her bill, House Bill 4619, on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at the state Capitol in Lansing.

State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) speaks in support of her bill, House Bill 4619, on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at the state Capitol in Lansing.

State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) sponsored House Bill 4619, which 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.

“The way you love and express yourself has nothing to do with your need for affordable health care,” Rogers said. “As a practicing physical therapist, I have treated people with all different conditions, backgrounds and identities, all of whom needed access to health care. Bigotry, whether it be based on race, sexual orientation or gender, should never prevent an individual from receiving necessary health care.”

State Rep. Kimberly Edwards (D-Eastpointe) sponsored HB 4620, which 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, more than 40% of American households have a family member with a preexisting condition.

“As a former social worker, I’m acutely aware of how the lack of insurance can affect families and community members,” Edwards said. “We cannot take any chances; we must have these laws on Michigan’s books. The passage of these bills today ensure equitable access to health insurance. These bills can save lives, give opportunities and safeguard the future of health-care coverage in Michigan.”

State Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming) sponsored HB 4621, which requires insurers to allow dependent health coverage to policyholders, and it would allow the dependent to continue to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.

“This legislation helps safeguard dependable, reliable health care for all those who rely on the ACA for coverage,” Fitzgerald said. “It provides the kind of security and protections that keeps folks in Michigan — it also helps attract young people to our great state. These bills send the message that Michiganders are protected, safe and welcome. My bill in this package ensures that policyholders who want to keep their dependents on their health coverage can do so, all the way until they are 26 years old. Young people need and deserve to feel supported and at home here in Michigan — that’s why I was grateful to help move this legislation forward.”

State Rep. Reggie Miller (D-Van Buren Township) sponsored HB 4622, which eliminates the possibility of insurers putting annual and lifetime limits on benefits.

“Prior to the implementation of the federal ACA, insurance providers had every right to implement annual and lifetime caps on health care coverage,” Miller said. “These providers had the freedom to decide that coverage for things like cancer were too expensive, and people could be hit with an annual cap on their coverage. This is yet another wrong that Michigan Democrats have corrected, and I’m proud to see this package take one more step toward the governor’s desk.”

Lastly, state Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) sponsored HB 4623, which mandates that insurers in Michigan offer coverage that is guaranteed under the ACA. This coverage includes hospitalization, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, pregnancy, infant care and preventive services like dentistry.

“Preventive health care coverage is a win-win; patients can have minor issues treated before they become major problems, and that reduces costs for insurers,” Koleszar said. “That’s why those provisions were included in the federal ACA, and that’s why it’s important we put them into Michigan law — to help people live better, healthier lives.”