By Lacy Scarmana
Governor Mike Pence unveiled a proposal this week to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan, a plan he’s calling HIP 2.0. The healthcare program has been in place for more than six years, but now the governor is looking to expand it as an alternative to a Medicaid expansion.
On this episode of Noon Edition, a physician, an Indiana University health policy professor and a representative from the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) gave their take on HIP 2.0.
Dr. Rob Stone, co-founder of Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan, has been a proponent for traditional Medicaid expansion, but now says he is “cautiously optimistic” about the changes presented in the governor’s plan.
If it’s approved by the federal government, HIP 2.0 would provide Hoosiers three options:
HIP Link: assistance for people who cannot afford their employer’s insurance
HIP Basic: very limited coverage at little or no cost
HIP Plus: includes dental and vision, but people are required to share some of the cost
Indiana University health policy professor Kosali Simon says when a federal program is designed with a one-size-fits-all approach, states often need to experiment to find what works best for them.
“I think this is an example of a state taking advantage of the flexibility that is allowed in the Medicaid program,” Simon says. “We see Indiana proposing to change some of the ways in which the federal plan is planned.”
The HIP 2.0 proposal comes shortly after Pence’s announcement that Indiana would be the first state to withdraw from the Common Core national education standards.
Dr. Stone says he is proud Pence is taking political risks, but is concerned that Indiana is recreating a wheel with a system that is administratively complex. He worries about how long it will take to implement the changes of HIP 2.0, while states such as Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky have already expanded Medicaid.
“There are somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people in Indiana who could already be covered today if we had followed the lead of the surrounding states,” Dr. Stone says.
The proposed expansion would increase HIP enrollment from 40,000 participants now to over 350,000, but Brian Tabor, IHA Vice President of Government Relations, says there shouldn’t be a major disruption in the medical billing process.
“I think hospitals and physician’s offices already have some experience with this product and so from a billing perspective, I don’t expect that there would be much that increases the burden that’s there today,” Tabor says.
Brian Tabor – Indiana Hospital Association Vice President of Government Relations
Dr. Rob Stone – Co-Founder of Hoosiers for a Common Sense Healthcare Plan
Kosali Simon – Indiana University Professor with interest in health economics and policy