Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents and others across the state are being encouraged to explore their options and new plan choices during the open enrollment period for Michigan’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

The annual Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period runs through January 15th, 2023.

Officials say there are savings still in effect making health insurance more affordable, new grants for free local help, and more plan options than last year, making shopping for health insurance easier.

Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox says many people may not sign up for health insurance because they think it is too expensive or too complicated, but several recent changes have brought down the barriers so every Michigander can get the health insurance they need for themselves and their families.

Fox added they know that comprehensive health insurance leads to better health outcomes for individuals and families, so it is important to sign up for a plan during Open Enrollment to take advantage of newly extended subsidies to get low- or no-cost coverage.

More than 520,000 people in Michigan are uninsured.

UnitedHealthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Randall says it's important to spend some time doing research when deciding on coverage as there are different providers and plans to choose from. She says people should set aside some dedicated time to really understand and compare benefits, adding figuring out what you will – and won't – need from your health plan is critical.

Randall commented “You don't want this to be a decision you’re making with not a lot of time, or maybe you were to forget it's time to make a decision, and then be locked into your current coverage. Some things to consider are prescription drug benefits, mental health coverage, specialty benefits – things like dental, vision, hearing, critical illness insurance – and others that may be available as well. Also make sure that you're looking at those things like your out-of-pocket costs, and having a good understanding of what those insurance terms mean – like copays, co-insurance, premiums, deductibles and more".

Subsidies for people with incomes less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level will once again be in effect. They've been extended through 2025 as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. That caps the monthly premium for those families at no more than at 8.5% of household income.

More information is available in the attached release and provided link.