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10/8/2017 3:08:00 PM
Indiana still waiting on Medicaid waiver extension

Scott L. Miley, Tribune-Star CNHI Statehouse Bureau

Indiana is still awaiting word on its latest request for a waiver extension to the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan, the health insurance program for Hoosiers age 19 to 64 who meet income requirements.

Known as HIP 2.0, it’s Indiana’s alternative to the traditional Medicaid program. Such alternatives need approval by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In January, the state submitted the request to continue HIP 2.0 until 2021. The state submitted an amendment to the plan in July. The amendment would allow Indiana to add new elements to the program, said officials with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

For example, Indiana wants to expand treatment options for Hoosiers hit by the drug epidemic as well as enhancing HIP 2.0’s existing Gateway to Work program to help transition Hoosiers into employment.

Instead of being an Affordable Care Act waiver, Indiana is seeking an extension of the Medicaid waiver that was approved 10 years ago.

The request would cover a three-year period from Feb. 11, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2021.

The request, if approved, would not become effective until Feb. 1, 2018, said Marni Lemons, Deputy Director of Communications and Media for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Meantime, other states are running into problems getting the federal government to let them do what they want by approving waivers to provisions of Obamacare.

Angry Oklahoma officials say residents there missed a chance to see their premiums drop by about a third because the federal government was too slow to act.

In Minnesota, insurance officials announced Monday premiums could drop by as much as 38 percent next year because the federal government approved part of its plan to subsidize insurers for treating expensive patients.

But Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said the rejection of another part of the state’s plan would mean the loss of $369 million in federal dollars to pay for premiums and deductibles for more than 100,000 low-income people.

In another case, Iowa officials hadn’t heard if their plan to subsidize expensive patients would be approved, even as the open enrollment period to sign up for insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges approached Nov. 1.

The delay left State Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen “a lot less optimistic” about avoiding an average 58 percent rate increase next year, the Des Moines Register reported.

CNHI Washington Reporter Keri Murakami contributed to this report.

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