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UPDATE: Pence to propose 2-tier insurance plan for poor

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Low-income Indiana residents would have more health-insurance options, including some with no cost, under a two-tiered plan Gov. Mike Pence plans to unveil on Thursday.

The proposal is an attempt to win federal approval to continue insuring poor Indiana residents through the state-run Healthy Indiana Plan rather than by expanding Medicaid. President Barack Obama's health reform law called for expanding traditional Medicaid coverage to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The state has been talking with federal Health and Human Services officials about using Healthy Indiana as its vehicle for Medicaid expansion but has not received approval to do so beyond Dec. 31, when a one-year extension expires. Pence's proposal appears to be an attempt to address some of the federal government's concerns about HIP, including a requirement that recipients under the poverty line contribute the first $1,100 of their care.

Statehouse and health care leaders with direct knowledge of Pence's new proposal told The Associated Press on Wednesday that participants enrolled in the first tier would receive very limited coverage at little or no cost. A higher level dubbed HIP Plus would include dental and vision coverage and require participants to pay in.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the proposal before it was announced.

Pence's new proposal has not yet been submitted to the federal government.

The Healthy Indiana Plan was launched in 2008 under former Gov. Mitch Daniels as a way to provide insurance to Indiana residents who did not qualify for traditional Medicaid but couldn't afford private insurance. The program currently covers about 40,000 low-income Indiana adults.

Those briefed on Pence's proposal say participation could rise as high as 500,000 people if the federal government approves the plan.

Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Fabien Levy noted that any expansion of Medicaid would be covered 100 percent by the federal government for new enrollees the first three years and then be scaled down to 90 percent of the cost after that.

"We are encouraged by Indiana and Governor Pence's commitment to helping cover more of the state's uninsured population through the Healthy Indiana Plan and look forward to seeing his proposal," Levy said.

IBJ reported
Tuesday that Pence's proposal involves a combination of the Healthy Indiana Plan, employer-sponsored health plans and health savings accounts.

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  • Politics Trump Doing the Right Thing
    Wow! I agree with all the comments posted thus far. Other than politics, I cannot find one good reason for Pence to go this alternative and complicate route in lieu of expanding Medicaid. Eventually, Hoosiers will wake up and vote this photogenic, soft-spoken, ego maniac out of office.
  • Resume'
    Pence does not expect this to be approved he is continuing to add to his Tea Party Résumé' at the expense of Indiana. His Presidential aspiration's are his overriding mantra, the TV image of him stating "Shut it down" will not get him nominated. What the right wing does not understand or at least acknowledge is the unhealthy Hoosiers cost the state much more than the cost of a health care premium . Think missed work, disability etc.
  • A non-starter...
    Given the details high-lighted in the article, I highly doubt that HHS will grant approval. Additionally, what does the GOP not get about being poor. That can't afford to purchase insurance in the first place, let alone cover the cost of any deductibles or co-pays associated with care. Not having to cover costs is the whole point of Medicaid. BTW, there is a very easy way to get people out of social welfare programs and poverty, it's called raising the minimum wage and job traininng programs...
  • still do not qualify
    Well those of us with No income still won't qualify. I applied for Medicare and was turned down cause I wasn't disabled enough. Don't qualify HIP cause I have no income. So another words I can't get any type of insurance.
  • Hooiser Poor Treated Poorly
    So his idea is to let the rest of the poor in the country have better health care than the people who he is suppose to be working for. He is stating through this policy that he cares very little about the poor that we have here in Indiana. He is more concerned with how his peers see him and less about the people who he swore to serve. Of course they will announce to the public that he has created this great policy to help the poor of Indiana and most will believe it is true. They know that most of the poor people have very little knowledge of the ACA and will think that they are getting a great deal from Pence. It is sad that politicians are able to get away with such a mass deception. But it appears as if it mat continue on for a very long time.
  • Har-de har
    You know pence will sock it to the poor as usual

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