The federal government has granted a one-month extension to Indiana’s Medicaid program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, which was set to expire this month.
This buys time for the state and federal government to finalize details of how the program works, according to a press release from Gov. Eric Holcomb's office.
In 2015, HIP 2.0 was initially approved by the federal government as an experiment that would last three years. The program is made possible through a "demonstration" waiver, which allows the state to test a different way of getting people insurance coverage while not having to follow certain Affordable Care Act laws.
The expansion allowed thousands of previously ineligible Hoosiers to get health insurance.
One of the unique facts of the program was that members were asked to make monthly payments, based on income, in order to receive the higher level of insurance coverage — which includes dental and vision care.
For those above the poverty level, missing a payment means a loss in coverage. Those below the poverty line who fail to pay in are dropped to a lower level of benefits.
Indiana submitted an extension application last year asking the federal government to make several changes to the existing insurance program. For instance, Indiana wanted to create a tiered system to assess premiums for HIP members. That change was approved in December.
Indiana also wants to require many Medicaid recipients to work, attend school or get job training in order to receive benefits — a policy that has been widely condemned by advocacy organizations. The state is still waiting for formal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency responsible for overseeing government insurance programs.
CMS has yet to give the green light, but approved a work requirement in Kentucky earlier this month. For now, the current Healthy Indiana Plan is set to expire February 28th.
This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a reporting collaborative focused on public health.