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HIP Expansion Proposal Would Steer Enrollees Into DWD Programs

Gov. Mike Pence talks with doctors at St. Vincent Hospital's Joshua Max Simon Primary Care Center in Indianapolis. (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)

Indiana's application to expand its state-run health insurance package includes a proposal to use the program to help people find jobs.

Along with expanding health coverage, the Pence administration wants to create what it calls "Gateway to Work." People who enroll in the Healthy Indiana Plan would also be referred to state job training programs and the Indiana CareerConnect job search service. Governor Pence says HIP was never intended as an entitlement -- he says the new requirement is a chance to help people boost their incomes.

Indiana's application says studies indicate people with jobs are physically and mentally healthier.

Pence says the state is prepared to work with the federal government on tweaks to the program. He's hoping to roll out the expanded program "as early as possible" in 2015 following federal approval. But he warns the expansion is contingent on the government approving continuation of the health savings accounts at the center of HIP since its creation. He says giving patients the financial incentive to make good health choices is critical to ensuring the program's success.

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