Shopping for health insurance

Oct. 1 marks the kickoff of Mich.’s Health Insurance Marketplace, will you be shopping for coverage? With policies starting as early as Jan. 1, residents statewide have been preparing to see just how the Affordable Care Act will apply to them.

(Check out our coverage on more of the law’s highlights here.)

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“For the first time ever in our history, families are going to be able to go to the exchange and shop for health insurance policies that meet their needs and their family’s budget,” said Erin Knott, Mich. director with Enroll America.

The new law requires just about everyone to apply for some form of health coverage.

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And each plan, whether it is bronze level or platinum, will cover the basics. These include doctor’s visits, prescription costs, mental health services, emergency room care and maternity coverage, Knott said.

“So we’re encouraging everybody that we talk to that if under-insured or uninsured, to go to the marketplace to take four quick simple steps to ultimately get that insurance.”

For any healthcare quesitons or quotes consider contacting Doug Roehm of Stategic Services Group at



These steps include:

1—Register for a profile. All Michiganders will need to visit to prep, shop and purchase health insurance.

2— Apply. See below for some local groups who will be available round the clock to help you apply for health insurance.

3—Pick out a plan. There are so many different options for individuals, families, employers and those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, so be sure to visit for more details on where you fit. Certified application Web 3counselors will also help navigate you through the options.

4—And, enroll. Open enrollment ends March 31.


What will you need before you apply for health insurance?

Currently, it is difficult to pinpoint which documents and personal information you will need on hand when applying for health insurance, said Rick Young of Rick Young Insurance in Rochester Hills.

Mich. providers won’t know what the application will look like or what policy rates will be until the marketplace opens Oct. 1.

Web4But, here are some of the general pieces of information you may be asked to provide:

Who will you be buying insurance for?

First, think about the services you will need, Cathy Barrett of the Wayne State University Physician’s Group says. Will you be covering your family? Buying an individual plan?


“What’s really exciting, is the majority of folks that are going to be enrolling to the marketplace, will qualify for some sort of financial assistance,” Knott said.

Insurance providers like Young will ask what your income is, to see if you qualify for a government subsidy to help cover policy costs.

“Some people, based on their income, will qualify for subsidies so it is possible that some people will save money based on their subsidies,” he said.

There will be an extra step, Young says, but once the state rates are known after Oct. 1, providers can work with you to learn what subsidy you qualify for.

Age and birthday

Height and weight

Home address and phone number

Do you smoke?

Your signature: If you plan to work with a certified application counselor, you will have to sign an agreement provided by organizations like the Wayne State University Physicians Group. This will ensure they protect your healthcare information. Since no one has seen the insurance application yet, check back in the next week to see WSUPG’s full checklist of information you will need if you plan to work with a counselor. Their site is (See more on this group below!)

What won’t you need

“We don’t need to get their health history,” Young said.

One of the stipulations under the Affordable Care Act is that insurance providers must offer you health coverage, regardless of preexisting conditions. (Check out more of the law’s highlights here.)

More resources

The easiest way to navigate health coverage this fall?

“Call me,” Young said. Or call any of the local groups, certified application counselors and volunteers who will be offering their expertise to guide you through the process. You can find a list of nearby organizations at

One of the groups that will be guiding Rochester and Rochester Hills residents through the process is the Wayne State University Physicians Group.

“We’re all over…to help patients figure out how to apply and get insurance through the health exchange or if they qualify for Medicaid or some form of Medicaid,” said Cathy Barrett, who oversees all application counselor operations.

With more than 2,000 physicians, the group has locations in Rochester, Troy, Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield and more.

“We really work with the community to try to get them covered,” she said.

And they have been helping patients and communities find coverage all along.

“We’ve been doing this sort of thing anyways with the Medicaid applications,” Barrett said, “so this is just kind of a step up.”

Certified navigators through the group will host several seminars throughout the state with multiple spots in Rochester, to talk about health insurance and the process of buying coverage on the Mich. exchange. (Check back next week for a released list of event dates and locations!)

Barrett recommends attending so “we can help them along the way,” she said. “Things aren’t going to be up and running until Oct. 1. (But) at that point we’ll be able to provide a lot more information.”

Call the Wayne State University Physicians Group in Rochester at 248-581-5840 or visit

(Take a look at our rundown of the Affordable Care Act’s highlights in our June article here.)

Organizations and websites on how to partake in the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace, if you will be shopping for coverage starting Oct. 1:

To access the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the exchange, all residents will visit

We found this blog post on 10 ways to prep for enrollment really helpful.

Also check out this one on different ways to gear up for the marketplace.

A leading group bursting with answers to your questions, Enroll America, can be found at

Interested in more of the gritty details? The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, which specializes in health policy analysis, can be found at

The Michigan Department of Community Health has more resources. You can visit them at is another helpful site to learn the basis of the Affordable Care Act.

To contact Rick Young Insurance, which is located at 2993 Corinthia Drive in Rochester Hills,  give him a call at 248-844-9110.



About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at

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