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Feds Approve Changes to HIP 2.0

Revised program includes work requirement, $240M in federal money for drug treatment

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana’s gotten approval for a new work requirement for the Healthy Indiana Plan—and some federal cash with it.

The three-year renewal comes with nearly a quarter-million dolars in federal money to expand drug treatment. And it requires recipients to work at least 20 hours a week, either at a job or doing volunteer work.

Family and Social Services Secretary Jennifer Walthall says about two-thirds of the 400,000 people in the state-run insurance program will be exempt from the work requirement, because of physical disabilities or responsibilities such as caring for an elderly relative. But U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says for those who are able to participate the structure and income of a regular job is a first step toward promoting healthier habits.

Azar, a former Eli Lilly executive, came home to Indianapolis to announce the approval.

And Governor Holcomb says the requirement dovetails with the administration's efforts to expand Indiana's skilled workforce. He says the federal support for drug treatment will help the state ramp up capacity as it copes with the opioid epidemic.

The revised program includes a first-of-its-kind requirement for patients who smoke to take part in stop-smoking programs or pay a surcharge.

The Democratic National Committee slammed the changes, warning it will make the program more complicated and discourage people from participating. But Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly applauds the approval, saying it brings badly needed help to the opioid fight.

Gov. Eric Holcomb (right) with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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