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Indiana Extends Health Coverage For High-Risk Hoosiers

Indiana is extending health coverage for high-risk individuals because of the problems the federal government's health exchange website has been experiencing.

hospital hallway

Photo: Earthworm

A woman is pushed between the surgery center in the cancer center at a hospital. Cancer patients can qualify for subsidized health coverage under Indiana's program.

Indiana is extending health insurance coverage for high-risk individuals until the end of January because of problems associated with the federal health exchange website.

The coverage, provided by the Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association, was scheduled to end at the end of the year, but the Department of Insurance has the option of extending it until the federally facilitated marketplace is deemed operational.

The program provides health coverage to individuals who can demonstrate they have been denied coverage, including people with cancer or who are awaiting organ transplants. Approximately 6,800 Hoosiers are currently covered.

“In many cases, these individuals are unable to schedule potentially lifesaving treatments without proof of health coverage for the coming year,” Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Steve Robertson said in a statement.

Those individuals would qualify for insurance under the Affordable Care Act because people can no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But signing up for that coverage has been difficult because of the glitches with the federal exchange website.

Department of Insurance officials say they will not leave high-risk Hoosiers without coverage, but a spokesman says they should continue to seek alternative coverage, either through commercial insurance or through the federal health exchange.

The Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association has been in existence since 1982. The state subsidizes three-fourths of the insurance. The rest is covered by fees included in major medical health insurance policies.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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