Health

Fed OK Original HIP, Continue HIP 2.0 Review

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November 18, 2014 –Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports.

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TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Federal officials have given Indiana the OK to extend its Healthy Indiana Plan one more year – but have not yet acted on the state’s request to expand HIP to thousands more Hoosiers.

The action by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services means residents now signed up for the current HIP program can stay on it. But it does not change the program’s eligibility.

“This decision by the federal government to renew our current Healthy Indiana Plan is welcome news and will bring certainty to the more than 60,000 Hoosiers who currently enjoy the benefits of this proven health care program,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement.

But state officials continue to wait anxiously for word about whether they can expand the program into what Pence is calling HIP 2.0. That would make Hoosiers who earn a slightly higher income eligible for the coverage.

In a letter to the state, CMS Director Cindy Mann said the agency extended the original HIP plan for one year “in order not to disrupt the coverage currently afforded in Indiana as the state continues to work with CMS” on the HIP 2.0 proposal. Mann said discussions about the expanded proposal continue.

But Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Monday the federal government needs to act now to approve HIP 2.0.

“I think we’re seeing high stakes politics being played right now,” Long said.

Last summer, Pence requested permission to implement HIP 2.0 in place of a Medicaid expansion called for by the federal Affordable Care Act. But CMS officials have questions about provisions that require most participants to pay a portion of the cost.

The Republican governor said he hopes the CMS renewal of the existing program bodes well for approval of the expanded proposal as well.

“Since this marks the third time the Obama administration has approved the Healthy Indiana Plan in its current form, we hope that this decision signals an openness by this administration to move forward with approval of HIP 2.0, which is built on the same principles of personal responsibility and consumer choice,” pence said.

If the state is allowed to implement HIP 2.0, as many as 350,000 more uninsured Hoosiers could be eligible to obtain coverage through the program.

Currently, HIP is available to adults who earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level and who do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid. HIP 2.0 would expand eligibility to adults who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

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