INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The test run of an Indiana program aimed at
providing affordable health care to otherwise uninsured adults will be
extended by a year as officials continue negotiating with the federal
government about using it to expand Medicaid, Gov. Mike Pence announced
As part of a deal with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,
the Pence administration will lower the amount residents can earn before
they qualify for the state-run Healthy Indiana Plan while pushing more
residents into the federal health insurance exchange.
State leaders are trying to persuade CMS that the program should be used
for the Medicaid expansion called for under the new federal health care
law, and the deal buys them more time.
Pence re-submitted former Gov. Mitch Daniels' request earlier this year
that HIP be used for an expansion of Medicaid and has spent the past
month touting the program.
"I believe that securing the waiver to continue the Healthy Indiana Plan
is a victory for Hoosiers enrolled in this innovative program," Pence
As part of the federal approval, the state will cut in half the income
cap for eligibility from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 100
percent. For a single adult, that means the new limit is earning $11,500
a year. Residents earning up to $22,300 already enrolled in the program
will have to seek private insurance.
The move will allow the state to add a few thousand more residents to
the program but is not expected to put a significant dent in the roughly
50,000 residents on the waiting list to enroll.
The Republican governor has lined up big stakes in the perceived success
of the Healthy Indiana Plan, spending the better part of the last two
weeks talking up the state-run plan in national appearances. He called
the program a better alternative to the federal health care law in the
Republican weekly radio address and has done spots on MSNBC and Fox News
recently pumping the plan.
Pence and legislative leaders had originally sought to use HIP to cover
more than 400,000 uninsured residents under the expansion. But Pence's
health care advisers lowered their sights following a June meeting with
A formal sign-off on the one-year extension has been expected for a few
months. Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Debra Minott
told lawmakers in June that the state had adopted an approach of
securing the extension before negotiating any expansion.
But House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, called the
decision a "failure" by Pence and his team.
"This news is being presented as some sort of success. It's no success,
and it's an embarrassment," he said.
Democrats and supporters of an expansion, including the Indiana Hospital
Association, have argued the state would lose out on billions of dollars
in federal aid. But Republicans have said the cost to the state could
outweigh the benefits of accepting federal aid for an expansion.