Indiana Extends High-Risk Health Insurance

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Problems with the federal health care insurance website have prompted Indiana to extend the state's high-risk insurance pool. It covers approximately 6,800 people with dire issues, including cancer. The extension, through the end of January, is expected to cost the state more than $6 million. October 31, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Steve Robertson issued an order today, at the urging of Governor Mike Pence, to extend the State of Indiana's high-risk insurance pool until January 31, 2014. The Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association (ICHIA) provides coverage for approximately 6,800 individuals with significant medical needs.

Hoosiers have had difficulty enrolling in Marketplace insurance plans due to technical problems with the federal Marketplace web site since it opened on October 1. This is particularly problematic for Hoosiers in the high-risk pool, who are facing dire health care issues such as cancer, hemophilia, HIV/AIDS, or are awaiting organ transplants. They must show proof of insurance to continue to get critical treatments and medication.

"The State of Indiana will ensure that these Hoosiers, who are facing significant health care challenges, maintain their health coverage until the problems with the federal Marketplace are resolved," Governor Pence said. "While problems enrolling are an inconvenience to some, they could be a matter of life and death for these Hoosiers."

The State of Indiana will extend the high-risk insurance pool for one month for all 6,800 Hoosiers currently covered, at a cost of $6.3 million. Should enrollment problems continue, the State will assess the feasibility of extending coverage until Hoosiers can apply and enroll in the federal Marketplace.

In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Robertson asked for assurances that the Marketplace will be fully operational by February 1, 2014, if not sooner.

"In many cases, these individuals are unable to schedule potentially lifesaving treatments without proof of health coverage for the coming year. The State of Indiana has stepped up to ensure coverage while your agency fixes the impediments to their enrollment in Marketplace plans," wrote Robertson.

ICHIA was created in 1982 to provide health care options for seriously ill Hoosiers who did not have access to coverage in the private market. The Indiana General Assembly passed HEA 1328 on April 26, 2013 to dissolve ICHIA with the understanding that these individuals would obtain coverage in the new federal Marketplace.

Source: Indiana Department of Insurance

October 31, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) has issued the following statement after the Indiana Department of Insurance announced its decision to extend insurance coverage for Hoosiers considered "high risk" through next January:

"I agree that this decision had to be made to ensure that those most at risk do not lose their insurance coverage.

However, these circumstances again point out the need for us to work with the federal government in setting up an exchange operated by the state of Indiana. I think we could do a better job than Washington in using the machinery of the Affordable Care Act to help protect the lives of Hoosiers.

The governor needs to reconsider his actions in refusing to have a state-run exchange.

At the very least, I believe that Indiana needs to do a better job of informing Hoosiers about the details of the federal health care law and how we can benefit from it. Other states are making this effort. Indiana should, too."

Source: Office of State Representative Ed DeLaney