Cover Michigan 2010: The state of health care coverage in Michigan

June 21, 2010

A cityscape.Cover Michigan 2010 is CHRT’s annual report of health care coverage in the U.S. and Michigan, including data on the uninsured, publicly and privately insured, premiums and cost-sharing, the health care safety net and, new for this year, health reform (also available separately in the CHRT Issue Brief, Impact of Health Reform on Coverage in Michigan).

Cover Michigan 2010 presents the most recent comparative data available for the U.S. and Michigan: 2008 data for the U.S. and 2007/2008 two-year pooled data for the state. Michigan data are pooled to ensure an adequate sample size; some demographic data are reported as three-year pooled averages. Where possible, more recent data are included.

The report and the Cover Michigan Survey 2010 (released in March 2010) both reveal continued upward trends in areas of concern from our 2009 report: more people lacking insurance, more employers dropping coverage, higher costs for those who have insurance, and a growing strain on the health care safety net.

Important trends noted in Cover Michigan 2010 include:

  • The numbers of uninsured and publicly insured in our state have been growing. More than 3.8 million Michigan citizens were either uninsured or covered by a public program (Medicare, Medicaid, military)—almost 39 percent of the state’s population;
  • Despite the growth in public coverage, many of the poor did not have coverage at all: 37 percent of those with incomes below the poverty line did not have coverage in 2007/2008;
  • While Michigan still has a higher percentage of those with private coverage than most states (ranking ninth highest), businesses in Michigan have been dropping coverage at a faster rate than the U.S. overall and the percent of Michigan’s population with private coverage was 4.5 percent lower in 2007/2008 than it was in 2003/2004;
  • Average Michigan family premiums continue to be less than the U.S. average, at $11,321 compared to $12,298— making Michigan the ninth lowest state in average family premiums in 2008;
  • Reflecting the increase in the number of uninsured in the state and the increase in copayments and deductibles faced by those with insurance, uncompensated care in hospitals increased in 2008 to $2 billion, a 94 percent increase since 2004;
  • “Safety net” providers in Michigan are critically important for many of those most in need, but these providers are challenged to meet demand for their services. Also, Michigan has fewer such providers than many other states: Michigan ranked 31st in the nation for the number of federally qualified health center sites per 10,000 uninsured.

We predict these 2008 trends will continue in the 2009 data. If anything, given the dramatic economic events of 2009, they will likely reflect even steeper changes in the same directions. There is no question the trends evident in this report depict both the reasons health reform was a major national policy issue in 2009 and some of the challenges it will face.