Advocates Push For Expanded Health Coverage In Indiana

Gov. Mike Pence is meeting with federal officials this weekend to discuss ways to provide health insurance to the 400,000 Hoosiers who fall into a coverage gap.

mike pence

Photo: Office of the Governor

Gov. Mike Pence plans to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this weekend.

Advocates are pressuring Gov. Mike Pence to expand health care for low-income Hoosiers ahead of his meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this weekend.

Pence and Sebelius plan to discuss whether Indiana could use the Healthy Indiana Plan, Indiana’s Medicaid alternative that requires participants pay into the program, as a way to expand health coverage.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion up to 133 percent of the poverty level through 2016. The federal government’s burden would go down incrementally after that to 90-percent in 2020.

The governor says he will not expand Medicaid but would consider expansion using the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Indiana Coalition for Human Services was among a coalition that delivered 10,000 signatures this week to the governor‘s office, asking him to expand coverage.

ICHS President Mark Fairchild says the governor needs to accept the federal funding that will cover 400,000 Hoosiers who remain without coverage because they do not qualify for Medicaid, the Healthy Indiana Plan or federal health care subsidies.

“We need the governor to make the decision to create some kind of an expansion that does really fill this gap,” Fairchild says.

Fairchild says the governor is holding on to elements of the Healthy Indiana Plan that the federal government isn‘t likely to accept as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.

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  • Bob Eckert

    Sebelius has already told Indiana once the Healthy Indiana (which is a “deal” that Republicans made with Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield) plan doesn’t cut the mustard. The reason it doesn’t is that is doesn’t allow any choice because it is tied to Anthem. As long as Anthem is allowed to dominate the market in Indiana by a ridiculous margin, other companies will not try to compete here and Indiana residents will get screwed on price, quality, coverage. I have an ACA/Obamacare plan that is from Anthem. The plans sucks and barely meets federal requirements but it was what I could afford and over time I’ve come to realize that it’s a very bad deal for someone who is basically healthy. NO OTHER companies competed in except MDwise which is IU Health’s entry which was much more expensive and was also restrictive like Anthems. Example: With Anthem, I cannot even go to the hospital I was born in, in the city in which I live and have lived and worked for 57 years. That is despicable. If I go to that hospital, Anthem pays NO PART of the expense even if it is an emergency. As a state we are held hostage by Anthem.

  • Benjamin L. Van

    Which plan did you sign up for Mr. Eckert?

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