Governor Mitch Daniels has asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius not to force termination of the state's Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), the health insurance program for low-income uninsured Hoosiers, and to allow its use for newly-eligible Medicaid clients in 2014 when provisions of the new federal health care law become effective.
For the third time over in the last nine months, the governor has reached out to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for answers about the future of HIP. If the federal government does not grant permission, HIP will terminate at the end of 2012.
Early results from HIP show that participants are highly satisfied, with 99 percent planning to renew their coverage. They make required contributions consistently, have lower emergency room use, higher use of preventive services and generic drug use as compared with other Medicaid populations and in some cases, those with private insurance. As a group they have accumulated millions of dollars of savings in their personal POWER (Personal Wellness Responsibility) account.
The state has sent several letters to Health and Human Services representatives requesting answers to questions about utilizing HIP as the program to serve Indiana's newly-eligible Medicaid recipients beginning 2014. So far, there has been no guidance.
Here is a link to the governor's letter: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/011411letter.pdf
Previous correspondence may be found at this link: http://www.in.gov/aca/2330.htm
Executive Order authorizes establishment of state healthcare exchange
The governor also has signed an executive order authorizing the Family and Social Services Administration to work with other state agencies to conditionally establish and operate a state-based healthcare benefit exchange. The steps taken will be preparatory only and do not connote a decision to put a state-run exchange in place.
According to Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are required to establish a health benefit exchange by January 1, 2014. The federal government will establish exchanges for states that have not made adequate progress by January 1, 2013.
The governor said it is in Hoosiers' best interest to begin to put a framework in place. There has been little information or guidance from the White House about how a federally-based exchange would operate.
"The nation will be best served by the repeal of this expensive and unworkable law, or by its judicial overturn. But for now, there seems no alternative but to prepare for the possibility that Indiana will try to operate an exchange of some kind," said Daniels.
Individuals and small businesses will use health exchanges to find, compare and enroll in health insurance plans and to obtain federal tax credits for premium expenses. It is estimated that at least 1.4 million Hoosiers will use the exchange; however, the numbers are likely to increase as businesses and individuals drop their existing health insurance to receive tax credits.
Here is a link to the executive order: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Executive%20orders/EO_11-01.pdf