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State wants to offer $1,000 'bridge' for low-income Hoosiers leaving Medicaid

May 16, 2019

Low-income Hoosiers who find a good-paying job are often at risk of losing their Medicaid health insurance due to income restrictions. For some, the higher cost of private insurance can be daunting—or even a disincentive to look for work.

But state officials say they want to ease the transition to private insurance by providing $1,000 in cash.

The Indiana Family & Social Services Administration said Wednesday it is seeking federal approval to allow people leaving the Healthy Indiana Plan to use up to $1,000 for premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance for a year during their transition to commercial coverage. It is calling the program the "HIP Workforce Bridge."

The money would come from each person’s Personal Wellness and Responsibility, or POWER, account that they use to help pay for deductible expenses, under the Healthy Indiana Plan, Indiana’s largest Medicaid program. Unlike traditional health savings accounts, POWER accounts do not stay with the person if they move to private insurance.

If the federal government approves, Indiana would be the first state in the nation to allow Medicaid enrollees to use the funds after leaving the program.

“When you take a step forward in your career, you should also continue to take steps to be healthy,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “We want Hoosiers to pursue meaningful employment while continuing to see their doctor, take their medicines and maintain their overall health.”

The state said it would submit a proposal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services following a 30-day comment period.

Indiana’s HIP program, which started in 2008, provides health care plans to more than 400,000 low- to middle-income Hoosiers.

 

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