Funding shortage keeps Hoosiers uninsured 

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By Emily Metheny

Indiana has stopped accepting new applications for the Healthy Indiana Plan because funding from the state’s tobacco tax can’t support more people.

When HIP was renewed last year, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services permitted Indiana to adjust eligibility during the year if funding was not able to support enrollment. It is possible for new applications to be accepted if current members drop out. If that’s the case, information for enrollment can be found at www.HIP.IN.gov.

Gov. Mike Pence has proposed to expand the HIP program as a replacement for the Medicaid expansion called for in the federal Affordable Care Act. Pence calls that proposal HIP 2.0. But unless federal officials approve it, the state will continue to operate on the existing HIP program.

“Unlike our current program, which has reached its peak capacity, HIP 2.0 would not be solely limited by the revenue from Indiana’s tobacco tax,” said Joe Moser, the state’s Medicaid director.

The state submitted the waiver request on July 3. If approved, HIP 2.0 could expand coverage hundreds of thousands of uninsured Hoosiers starting in 2015. The waiver would provide low-income Hoosiers with three different health-care plan options.

But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said that the state’s current limit on enrollment is the result of Pence waiting too long to act to expand health care coverage.

“If we had just put a plan into place sooner,” Lanane said, “we could have avoided these restrictions which now block the already limited number of HIP enrollees from the important health care access they need.”

Emily Metheny is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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