EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW AND EXPLANATIONS INCLUDED! In a major victory for both President Barack Obama and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved Indiana’s request to utilize the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan for Medicaid eligible persons as Indiana’s effort to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. HHS and the Governor’s Office announced the formal granting of the Indiana’s waiver request Tuesday (January 27th) during a speech by Gov. Pence at St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Conference Center. Indiana becomes the 28th state to expand Medicaid under he Affordable Care Act. In an EXCLUSIVE, two top officials who helped work with HHS and the Obama Administration on Expanding Medicaid in Indiana appeared on Afternoons with Amos to talk about the deal. Brian Neale, Healthcare Policy Director for Gov. Pence and Seema Verma, who created the Healthy Indiana Plan when she worked for the state explained to listeners how the HIP 2.0 Program Will Work. They also answered the community’s questions. That Exclusive Interview is in the Media Player Below. Under the HHS waiver, an additional 350,000 Hoosiers will be eligible for medical insurance coverage under the plan called HIP 2.0. All told the expansion of Medicaid and use of the HIP 2.0 Program will touch over 650,000 Hoosiers. Said Gov. Pence, “Since the beginning of my administration, we have worked hard to ensure that low-income Hoosiers have access to a health care plan that empowers them to take charge of their health and prepares them to move to private insurance as they improve their lives. This has been a long process, but real reform takes work.” Governor Pence first proposed HIP 2.0 in January 2013 after securing agreements from Indiana Hospitals to OK additional paying addition some of the additional cost of the state’s portion of Medicaid expansion. Other state costs will be funded by funds from Indiana’s cigarette taxes. Negotiations went on with HHS who approved a one year extension of the existing HIP program in September 3013. In July of 2014, Governor Pence met with HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell. The Governor’s staff met numerous times with HHS staff. After sending a personal letter to President Barack Obama, Governor Pence personally met with the President at the Evansville airport at the steps of Air Force One to press his case.
After that Governor Pence and Secretary Burwell met twelve times with Secretary Burwell, once in person and 11 times by phone, the last conversation on January 9th. Shortly after than the state received the OK to proceed. Gov. Pence’s Communications Director Christy Denault said the Governor’s reaction was one of satisfaction saying “We’ve done the right thing for Hoosiers”. Under HIP 2.0, which is an expansion of Indiana’s current HIP Program, participants are required to contribute to a POWER account, which they manage like a health savings account and are rewarded for using preventive care. Consequences for non-payment range from mandatory co-pays for services to loss of coverage. In addition, the plan includes a co-pay for emergency room use, designed to encourage appropriate use of the emergency room. The plan also offers low-income Hoosiers an option to receive assistance in purchasing private-market insurance through their employers, called HIP Link. The use of a health savings account as part of a premium assistance program is the first of its kind in the nation. The plan also refers applicants to job training and job search programs offered by the State of Indiana. There is though, under this agreement, a MAJOR change for Medicaid coverage in Indiana. Effective immediately, traditional Medicaid ends for all non-disabled Hoosiers between 19 and 64. Those individuals will be automatically moved to the HIP 2.0 Program. Also, Indiana is reforming its traditional Medicaid program by increasing reimbursement for healthcare providers, which will improve access to care. That negotiated rate increase is part of the deal the Go9vernor reached with the Indiana Hospitals Association, which will help fund the Healthy Indiana Plan so it can be offered at no additional cost to taxpayers. Doug Leonard, President of the Indiana Hospital Association said, ” It’s a great day for hard-working families, veterans and others who have struggled without health insurance. With fewer uninsured in Indiana, we can provide our patients with preventative care and appropriate treatment in a timely manner. This will not only improve the health status of our citizens, but will also reduce the cost of delivering services, helping to reduce health insurance premiums for Hoosiers who already have coverage.” Click the Media Player To Hear the Afternoons with Amos Interview With Seema Verma and Brian Neale Explaining Medicaid Expansion and HIP 2.0. Runs 44 Minutes. © 2015 WTLC/Radio One. Click the Links Below For Details About Indiana’s New Medicaid Expansion and HIP 2.0. There’s also a direct link to enroll. Implementation Quick Facts HIP Timeline HIP Infographic HIP Deal Sheet HIP By The Numbers HIP 2.0 Financing Overview To ENROLL Click Here: HIP 2.0 ENROLLMENT WEBSITE Or Call 1-877-GET-HIP-9 (1-877-438-4479).