VINCENNES, Ind. – The number of uninsured individuals seems to be a growing epidemic across the United States. The problem has not only affected Indiana residents throughout the state, but local families and neighbors next door. Local individuals are placed in a coverage gap between the poverty levels of 100 to 138 percent, where they are either unable to earn enough for tax credits or earn too much to qualify for health programs for the poor.
The problem started in June of 2012 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was mostly constitutional, except the “coercive” penalty to withhold all Medicaid matching funds from states not participating in the broad coverage expansion. The court’s decision allowed states to choose whether or not to expand Medicaid eligibility to adults whose incomes are up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for individuals). Also because of the ACA, payment cuts to Indiana hospitals over the next 10 years will total $3.8 billion that could be offset if Indiana decided to expand coverage. Good Samaritan Hospital received about a 3.3 percent payment cut in 2013 equaling $1.68 million.
Without coverage expansion, hospitals face tremendous financial uncertainty in their futures. Good Samaritan Hospital provided more than six million dollars in charitable care in 2013 due to the increasing amount of uninsured individuals. In Indiana, expanding coverage would have provided more than 400,000 individuals the opportunity to be covered by Medicaid. In Knox County alone, 2,645 adults would have been covered.
The Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) recently unveiled a statewide campaign titled Expand Indiana to help over 300,000 uninsured Indiana residents receive medical coverage and help bridge the coverage gap. Citizens, legislators and business leaders across the state will learn the importance of expanding health care coverage in Indiana. The HIP 2.0 expansion could generate up to $3.4 billion in new economic activity in Indiana and would support more than 30,000 jobs.
Governor Mike Pence has recently announced his plans for Health Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0, a health care coverage program for low-income results driven by consumers, and would replace traditional Medicaid for all non-disabled adults. HIP 2.0 plans to further promote a consumer-driven model and provide incentives for members to take responsibility for their health. Looking at the proposal, HIP 2.0 also:
Introduces a new HIP Employer Benefit Link plan that supports participation in employer-sponsored insurance.
Maintains and increases the Personal Wellness and Responsibility (POWER) account, modeled after a Health Savings Account, from which members would pay for medical services.
Provides a new option for families to be covered by the same health plan.
Facilitates linkages to employment services and rewards individuals for securing employment and moving off public assistance.
Because of the Expand Indiana campaign, there will be 406,000 new enrollees in Indiana by 2020. The cost of health insurance will be stabilized for everyone and Hoosiers will be given the chance to be more proactive in maintaining good health. The most important thing that Expand Indiana will do is to increase the quality of care for everyone in the community. “We see the effects of those who are living without affordable health insurance every day,” stated Rob McLin, President and CEO. “The rising number of individuals visiting the Emergency Room and patients going without medications because they cannot afford them is why we need to support the Expand Indiana campaign. This way, Indiana and Good Samaritan Hospital, can assure that more Hoosiers are protected.”
To learn more about Expand Indiana and find ways to get involved, visit ExpandINCoverage.org.