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Feds Approve Expansion of Healthy Indiana Plan

350,000 more Hoosiers now eligible for coverage

The federal government has approved Indiana's expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan.

After nearly seven months of talks with two Health and Human Services Secretaries -- and at one point, an impromptu huddle between President Obama and Governor Pence at the Evansville airport -- HHS approved a HIP expansion nearly identical to what Pence proposed last summer.

The state will transfer 120,000 non-disabled adults from Medicaid to HIP, reducing Medicaid rolls in Indiana  by about one-seventh. It'll also immediately begin accepting applications from 350,000 Hoosiers who weren't eligible for coverage before.

Coverage will begin on Sunday.

Pence says the lengthy discussions to get the plan approved stemmed from Indiana's insistence on moving away from traditional Medicaid, and a resulting federal need to closely review the seven-year history of the existing Healthy Indiana Plan. He says the resulting approval has the potential to make Indiana's plan a model for the nation.

Both the old and new versions of HIP emphasize reducing costs by encouraging preventive care, and incentivizing better habits through health savings accounts. Pence says a requirement that Hoosiers above the poverty line contribute 2% of their income to those accounts ensures they have a stake in the program.

The new HIP expands drug coverage and adds dental and vision coverage. People below the poverty line who can't make the required contributions will remain in the basic plan.

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