Indiana Has More People With No Health Insurance Than Neighboring States
Rate fell slightly since 2013; rates fell faster in states that expanded Medicaid
Aug. 11, 2014
Indiana now how more people without health insurance than all of our neighboring states according to a new report.
The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index was released last week and showed that the rate of uninsured in Indiana was virtually unchanged from last year, falling from 15.3% in 2013 to 15.0%. Indiana's rate fell less than every state that surrounds us during that time, and of those states, only Ohio joined Indiana in deciding to not expand Medicaid coverage as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. "The other states that have expanded coverage...have seen the number of uninsured people drop," said Alex Slabosky, chairman of the Cover Indiana campaign, which seeks to expand health insurance coverage.
Governor Pence chose not to expand Medicaid, and the governor is awaiting federal approval of an expansion of the state's Healthy Indiana plan as a substitute, which Cover Indiana favors. "We have great hope that when that is implemented, we will see a tremendous drop in the number of uninsured in Indiana," Slabosky said. The federal agency that oversees Medicaid recently sent the plan back to the state because Indiana failed to consult with a tribe of the Potawatomi Indians. That consultation has taken place, which means the official public comment period can begin.
Kentucky had the second-largest drop in its rate of uninsured in the country, falling eight-and-a-half percentage points to 11.9%. The rate in Illinois fell to 12.3% - it was 15.5% last year, while Michigan's uninsured rate dropped from 12.5% to 11.9%. Those three states all chose to expand Medicare coverage to help people comply with Obamacare's insurance mandate.
Parts of the Healthy Indiana plan appear to run counter to federal rules on how much people have to pay for their own health coverage, and some conservatives are not happy at the prospect of what they call a new entitlement. But Slabosky says getting people insured should be the overriding concern. "We think the governor and the federal government can come to an agreement on this, and we are very hopeful the program will be implemented in the early part of next year."