While health insurers in states around the country have proposed large rate increases for the health plans they sell on the Obamacare exchanges, insurers in Indiana are asking for modest increases or even decreases. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, has asked for 2016 premiums just 3.8 percent higher than its 2015 premiums. But Indiana’s insurers were already charging high prices. When the Obamacare health plans began in 2014, the premiums offered in Indiana were 28 percent higher than the average of the 36 states where the federal government is operating the exchange, according to a June 2014 analysis of “silver plans” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And for coverage that began this year, the plans Hoosiers selected in the Obamacare exchange cost 20 percent more, according to a March report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Hoosiers selected plans that cost an average of $5,256 per year versus an average for the federal exchanges of $4,368.
Indy Chamber has launched a new program aimed at helping small employers offer benefits to their workers. Called TogetHR (pronounced like together), the program offers a 15-percent discount on fees required to join a professional employer organization, or PEO, formed by Greenwood-based Tilson. Starting July 1, chamber members that join TogetHR PEO can get the cheaper insurance rates offered to large employers rather than the higher rates typically offered to small businesses. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will provide the health benefits for TogetHR. Tilson’s fees will be $850 per employee instead of its usual $1,000. For more than 25 years, Anthem has provided a discount on health insurance to chamber members via its ChamberCare program. But such discounts are being phased out under Obamacare. That change has depressed participation in ChamberCare and, with it, Indy Chamber membership.
The Pence administration will launch a $2.2 million advertising campaign this month to gin up participation in its Healthy Indiana Plan program. The expansion of the program, known as HIP 2.0, has gone remarkably well: From its launch on Feb. 1 until the end of May, the new version of Healthy Indiana Plan has pushed enrollment from 60,000 to 289,000 without breaking stride. Nearly 60,000 of the new participants came over from Medicaid programs that were folded into HIP 2.0. But 170,000 participants are new to state-funded health insurance. Funding for the ad campaign will be split equally between the state and federal governments. Print, radio, TV and billboard advertisements will direct their audience to a website or a call center for more information. State officials said HIP 2.0 is on pace to have 357,000 participants by the end of the year and 519,000 by the end of 2016.
Community Health Network will lease 10,700 square feet in a 160,000-square-foot health pavilion being built by the University of Indianapolis on Hanna Avenue. The $30 million pavilion is set to open in August. Community will operate a physical therapy and rehab clinic, as well as a health and wellness clinic for UIndy employees and the public. The clinic will provide a place for Community staff as well as UIndy professors and students to interact, giving students hands-on experiences and, potentially, helping Community develop better ways to care for patients. Under the agreement, Community will gradually increase the number of internships and clinical and field experiences provided at its various facilities for students in UIndy health programs. The partnership could also lead to joint faculty appointments, interdisciplinary training opportunities and the joint pursuit of research and grant opportunities. Also, Community has pledged additional financial support to scholarships, internships, research and interdisciplinary study.