Health care industry: Healthy Indiana Plan working smoothly

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Industry representatives say Indiana's expanded health care program for low-income residents has functioned smoothly in the months since it was implemented following federal approval.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in January approved expanding the existing Healthy Indiana Plan into a larger program that Gov. Mike Pence has dubbed HIP 2.0. That program uses federal Medicaid funds under President Barack Obama's health care law to cover people with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

State enrollment in HIP 2.0 has climbed to nearly 290,000 participants, with about 60 percent of those people under age 40, according to state figures presented Thursday during a public hearing in Indianapolis on the program.

Associations helping to enroll low-income Hoosiers into HIP 2.0 asked Thursday that the state focus on case management and in-person assistance as participants continue to navigate their health care coverage, particularly during the second wave of enrollment, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

Caitlin Priest, a spokeswoman for Covering Kids & Families of Indiana, said the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration "has done a laudable job of providing access and assistance to the first wave of enrollees."

But she said "our experience with our client population has shown us that future participants may require significant hands-on and follow up assistance."

About 70 percent of the people enrolled are paying monthly contributions for HIP-Plus plans, which include vision and dental insurance, while 30 percent reverted to the HIP-Basic plan, according to state figures presented Thursday.

The average monthly contribution for a HIP-Plus member in June was $10.99, state figures show. The HIP-Basic plan is the default health care coverage for participants earning below the federal poverty line who choose not to pay monthly contributions.

During Thursday's hearing, health industry officials said the program has functioned smoothly in the months since its implementation.

MDwise CEO Katherine Wentworth, whose company is serving Healthy Indiana enrollees, said participants in HIP plans are engaged. She said those people are four times more likely to access customer service than participants of the Hoosier Healthwise Medicaid program that covers children, pregnant women and low-income parents and caretakers.

Indiana Medicaid Director Joe Moser said the state is fielding inquiries from other states on how the program works.

State officials say the program is expected to provide coverage to 350,000 low-income, uninsured Hoosiers. Total enrollment is expected to reach about 680,000 as people move to the plan from traditional Medicaid and participants shift over from the initial version of HIP, which began under the administration of former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

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