MESSA building

A rich history

MESSA was born out of need at a time when public school employees had few health care options. In 1937, the Michigan Education Association started the first group hospitalization program for public school employees. For the first time, school employees had access to affordable insurance, providing financial protection and peace of mind.

That program evolved through the years and MESSA was formed in 1960 as a nonprofit voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (VEBA). A VEBA operates much like a member credit union-owned and operated by its members. As a VEBA, MESSA’s revenues can only be used to pay and administer our members’ medical claims. Unlike for-profit insurance companies, not a dime of our members’ premiums go toward shareholder profits or CEO bonuses.

Today, we are proud to provide our members and their families with the largest provider network in Michigan, comprehensive medical and prescription coverage, and outstanding personal service. We also offer vision, dental and short-term and long-term disability benefits.

Our members include teachers, education support professionals, K-12 administrators, higher education faculty and staff. For more than half a century, we have provided health benefits to public education employees, and now MESSA benefits are available to all public employees.

Our members keep Michigan’s schools and communities running — MESSA keeps them healthy.


  • We cover about 63,000 members and 195,000 insured lives.

  • Members have the greatest choice of doctors (Find a Doctor) and access to expert medical care from the best hospitals.

  • Our Member Service Center has been nationally recognized for 12 years for personal service and cost-effective operations.
  • Our most affordable medical option is the high-deductible MESSA ABC Plan paired with a health savings account (HSA).

  • We provide personal support to members with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Our rates remain stable and our increases are well below industry averages.
  • We are extremely efficient in our use of resources. We do not pay agent commissions and our administrative fees are lower than competitors.
  • Employers receive training and support to effectively manage employee benefits.
  • Each group is assigned a local field representative to help employees and employers.


To exceed the expectations of our customers by providing extraordinary service and a superior healthcare experience.



MESSA provides free coverage for telehealth and Online Visits

Ross Wilson, Exectutive Director

For all that our hardworking members do on behalf of Michigan kids and our communities, we at MESSA believe they deserve exceptional health benefits and unmatched personal service.

We are committed to helping our members get through these uncertain times — and that’s why we are fully covering online and telehealth medical and mental health visits 100% for our members and their covered dependents through Dec. 31. That means no deductibles, copayments or coinsurance.

Members can access this feature either through Online Visits or by using their current in-network providers’ telehealth systems. Here’s how:

  • Online Visits: Through MESSA’s partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, MESSA members and their dependents can visit a doctor or a mental health therapist using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To get started with Online Visits for medical or mental health care, go to or download the Blue Cross Online Visits app.
  • Telehealth with current provider: MESSA will fully cover medical and mental health appointments with members and their dependents’ current in-network medical provider or therapist if such appointments are conducted over the phone or online.

MESSA members will not be responsible for paying a deductible, copayment or coinsurance for either of these options.

(Please note we’ve been working as quickly as we can to put in place the necessary system updates to automatically waive the cost of these visits, but since our staff are working from home, it may take longer to complete the updates. It’s possible that some members may need to pay upfront for their visits. If this happens, they will be automatically reimbursed by MESSA at a later date.)

If you have any questions, please call us at 800.336.0013 or chat online via your MyMESSA member portal. We’re open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Thank you for everything you do. We’ll get through this — together.



Christine Kriss
MESSA Board President

Jeff Condon
Vice President

Dr. Charles R. Bacon
Ferris State University

Michelle Chase
Cheboygan Area Schools

Amy Cottingham
Bridgman Public Schools

Michael Graves
Southfield Public Schools

Robert Hanchek
North Central Area Schools

Jennifer Jones
Grand Rapids Public Schools

Tamara M. Lewis
Harrison Community Schools

Liza Parkinson
Utica Schools

Brett Smith
MEA Secretary-Treasurer

Paula Herbart
MEA President

Chandra Madafferi
MEA Vice President

Michael Shoudy
MEA Executive Secretary


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