Pence has plan to reduce Indiana's uninsured population

2014-05-13T18:59:00Z 2014-05-15T00:38:25Z Pence has plan to reduce Indiana's uninsured populationDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence will reveal Thursday his new strategy to provide health coverage for low-income uninsured Hoosiers using the Healthy Indiana Plan, instead of expanding Medicaid eligibility under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Staffers for the Republican governor revealed no details Tuesday on what the Pence plan will contain, how much it will cost, how it will be paid for or whether federal approval or state legislative action is required to put it into effect.

Pence is planning to tout his proposal at events in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Jeffersonville. He is not scheduled to visit Northwest Indiana.

Earlier this year, Pence sought permission from federal health officials to enroll more low-income Hoosiers in the high-deductible Healthy Indiana Plan that otherwise would be eligible for no-cost Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

He also asked that the Healthy Indiana Plan, which counts some 40,000 participants and is set to terminate at the end of the year, be allowed to continue.

Pence claimed Hoosiers prefer consumer-driven health offerings, like the Healthy Indiana Plan, over participating in an entitlement program.

About 400,000 Hoosiers who could enroll if Medicaid eligibility were expanded remain uninsured, because Indiana is among 24 states that rejected Medicaid expansion, even after the federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of health care costs for new participants through 2016.

The Indiana Hospital Association estimates Indiana's refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility will cost the state $10 billion in federal health funds through 2020 that would have supported 30,000 jobs.

A single Hoosier earning up to $15,521 or a family of four with income below $31,721 should be able to enroll in Medicaid.

Instead, the maximum income for Medicaid eligibility in Indiana remains $2,800 for an individual or $5,724 for a family of four.

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