Pence Still Optimistic About HIP Program
June 25, 2013 – Pence administration officials say they’re optimistic thousands of Hoosiers will retain their health insurance in the Healthy Indiana Plan through an extension of the program by the federal government. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports:
The Healthy Indiana Plan, the state’s health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers, currently serves 37 thousand people, with a waitlist of around 53 thousand. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Debra Minott says that lengthy waitlist is due in part to uncertainty over the program’s future. If the federal government doesn’t grant Indiana an extension, the state will begin dismantling the program in August – and those 37 thousand Hoosiers will lose their insurance at the end of the year. But Minott says she believes Indiana will receive definitive approval for an extension of HIP sometime this summer. Still, she says her agency is developing contingency plans in case the federal government denies an extension:
“We will also develop and undertake a communications plan to inform the members of the pending termination of the plan and we will work with them to find available options for obtaining healthcare.”
Minott says other healthcare options include community health centers and free clinics located around the state. New Albany Republican Representative Ed Clere says those contingency plans need more development:
“I don’t think we can assume that those programs can just absorb additional people. We need to know that the capacity is available.”
And Clere says even if that capacity is available, pushing people towards community health centers and free clinics isn’t necessarily the direction he thinks the state should go.
Brandon Smith – Indiana Public Broadcasting.