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INDIANAPOLIS — The federal government needs at least one more month to decide whether the state can impose a work requirement on Hoosier Medicaid recipients served by the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending Indiana's current HIP authorization until Feb. 28.

The 3-year-old program was slated to expire Wednesday.

"We're close but we are still working through the final details of our new plan with CMS," Holcomb said.

"This extension allows us to continue HIP until the waiver application is approved. Our more than 400,000 HIP participants will see no change in service."

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Holcomb is seeking permission to require able-bodied adults enrolled in HIP to work at least 20 hours a week, eight months of the year as a condition of receiving health coverage.

His proposed employment mandate would not apply to some 300,000 HIP members who already meet the work requirement, are full- or part-time students, pregnant women, primary caregivers for young children or disabled dependents, older than 60, medically frail, temporarily disabled, in a drug treatment program, or recently released from prison.

Indiana submitted its initial request to add a HIP work requirement 12 months ago.

State leaders had expected quick federal approval because Seema Verma, the HIP architect under Republican former Gov. Mike Pence, now is CMS administrator working alongside Vice President Pence.

In comparison, the Obama administration took seven months to approve Pence's July 2014 request that HIP serve as Indiana's Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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Financial Affairs Reporter

Dan has reported on Indiana state government for The Times since 2009. He also covers casinos, campaigns and corruption.