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Indiana’s health plan gets one-year federal waiver

Updated: October 5, 2013 6:26AM



Federal regulators will give Indiana a one-year waiver for the Healthy Indiana Plan as the state continues to negotiate for an alternative to expanding Medicaid.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid approved extending the Healthy Indiana program through Dec. 31, 2014.

Additional tools were provided to manage enrollment in the program, allowing the state to keep the program fiscally sustainable.

Gov. Mike Pence viewed the decision as a victory for citizens enrolled in the plan.

“Securing a waiver to continue the Healthy Indiana Plan,” Pence said in a statement Tuesday, “will ensure that Indiana remains at the forefront of consumer-driven healthcare in the United States.”

Pence and Republican legislative leaders originally wanted to use Healthy Indiana to cover more than 400,000 uninsured residents under the Medicaid expansion.

Senate minority leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said the announcement was a relief for the nearly 40,000 still on the plan, but not for everypone.

“What of the 10,000 enrollees the governor’s agreement kicks off” Healthy Indiana, Lanane said in a statement. “Or the nearly 53,000 left on waiting lists or the more than 500,000 Hoosiers without access to health care?

“To them, today’s announcement is nothing more than achieving the minimum.”

Indiana Hospital Association president Doug Leonard was happy to hear of the extention, and hopes state and federal administrators could settle on a compromise to expand coverage.

“HIP has been a successful program,” Leonard said, “and hospitals support using it as the model to expand coverage to as many as 400,000 uninsured individuals across the state.

“With 2014 less than four months away, we hope these negotiations will begin quickly and be just as fruitful. Cuts in federal payments to hospitals will accelerate as the Affordable Care Act continues to be implemented, making the expansion of coverage an increasingly urgent issue for our members and the health of all Hoosiers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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