As the state prepares to begin public hearings on the potential expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan, another prominent health care group has come out in support of the proposal. Indiana Rural Health Association Executive Director Don Kelso believes HIP 2.0 will “help those who most need it,” as rural populations tend to have lower incomes and higher instances of chronic disease. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will hold hearings on the proposal Wednesday and Thursday in Indianapolis.

May 27, 2014

News Release

Terre Haute, Ind. — Plans to advance Hoosier health reforms with HIP 2.0, particularly in rural areas of Indiana, are expected to “help those who most need it,” said Don Kelso, executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA). The state's Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) has been in place for more than six years, and Gov. Mike Pence recently announced plans for implementing HIP 2.0, a new Medicaid reform program which will allow up to 350,000 low-income adult Hoosiers to have access to a consumer-driven health care coverage program.

If approved by federal officials, HIP 2.0 will specifically alleviate the healthcare coverage gap created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Given that more than half of these adults live in rural areas, HIP 2.0 is critically important,” said Kelso.

The executive director also noted that Hoosiers with “the most serious health issues that are not fully addressed or supported” typically live in rural areas of Indiana. “These people often are physically isolated from healthcare centers and clinics, and since many live at the federal poverty level, they don't possess the financial resources to get needed help,” Kelso added.

“We at IRHA are grateful to Governor Pence and to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration for doing the heavy lifting in putting together a strong solution to a very serious challenge,” he said.

HIP 2.0 addresses healthcare access issues for Hoosiers aged 19 to 64 who live at the federal poverty level. Hoosier children (under age 19) will continue to have access through existing federal and state programs.

IRHA is also supporting and advocating for an increase in Indiana's tobacco tax to help both improve healthcare access and the general health of rural Hoosiers. The proposed funding for HIP 2.0 will come from Indiana's tobacco tax, from the Indiana Hospital Assessment Fee program and federal Medicaid funding.

“People who smoke generally need more healthcare services than people who don't, so it's only fair that they help provide these healthcare services through additional state tax revenue,” Kelso said.

The association plans to actively seek this increase during the next session of the General Assembly.

Kelso also noted that IRHA will be focusing on addressing healthcare access issues caused by the lack of medical professionals, particularly in rural areas. “Indiana's healthcare workforce issue needs some serious attention,” he said.

“We have qualified and licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can make significant contributions to improve primary care access to healthcare in rural areas,” explained Kelso. “But the way that patients are allowed to directly access primary care through nurse practitioners and physician assistants is outdated.”

“IRHA's position is that qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants should be allowed to practice to the fullest extent that their license permits.” Such reforms will allow HIP 2.0 to be implemented “at a most effective level.”

About the Indiana Rural Health Association

The Indiana Rural Health Association was organized in 1997 and is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the health and well-being of rural populations in Indiana through leadership, education, advocacy, collaboration, and resource development. The strength of the organization is through the present diverse membership and the founding organizers who are committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors. IRHA membership is made up of 2,600 diverse individuals and organizations, making it the largest rural health association in the nation, and a nationally recognized leader in rural health care. For more information, visit www.indianaruralhealth.org.

Source: Indiana Rural Health Association

May 23, 2014

News Release

Pursuant to 42 CFR Part 431.408, notice is hereby given that: (1) on May 28, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., at the Indiana Government Center South, Conference Center Room B, 402 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2744; and (2) on May 29, 2014, at 1:00 p.m., at the Indiana State House, Room 156-B, 200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2786, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) will hold public hearings on the extension of the existing Healthy Indiana Plan 1115 waiver request (HIP Extension Waiver) that will be submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to extend the current Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) for calendar years 2015 through 2017. Both public hearings will be accessible via web conference at http://www.webinar.in.gov/hip/. In addition, FSSA will present the HIP Extension Waiver to the Medicaid Advisory Committee on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at the Indiana War Memorial, Shoup Hall, 431 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

This notice also serves to open the 30-day public comment period, which closes June 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm.

The Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), which passed the Indiana General Assembly in 2007 with bipartisan support, builds upon the state's long and successful history with consumer-driven health plans. Individuals eligible for HIP are non-disabled adults between the ages of 19 and 64 with household income below 100% of the federal poverty limit (FPL). HIP, via private health insurance carriers, offers its members a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) paired with a Personal Wellness and Responsibility (POWER) account, which operates similarly to a Health Savings Account (HSA). This private health insurance experience provides an alternative to traditional Medicaid and promotes consumerism by requiring members to have “skin in the game,” which empowers them to demand price and quality transparency as they make cost-conscious health care decisions and take responsibility for their health. HIP, in its current form, is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2014.

FSSA is submitting the HIP Extension Waiver concurrently with a separate HIP 2.0 1115 waiver (“HIP 2.0 Waiver”) application. The HIP 2.0 Waiver seeks to expand HIP to all non-disabled Hoosiers between the ages of 19 and 64 with household income below 138% of the FPL. FSSA is submitting the HIP Extension Waiver as an alternative to the HIP 2.0 Waiver in order to preserve the current HIP program in the event CMS does not approve the HIP 2.0 Waiver. FSSA is not requesting any changes or modifications in the HIP Extension Waiver.

Source: Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

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