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Indiana seeks to continue Medicaid expansion program

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Eric Holcomb has requested the renewal of a federal waiver that allows Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to serve hundreds of thousands of low-income Hoosiers.

The request begins an eight-month process with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that is expected to go smoothly under President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Indiana has built a program that is delivering real results in a responsible, efficient and effective way,” Holcomb said. “I look forward to maintaining the flexibility to grow this remarkably successful tool and to preserve our ability to respond to the unique needs of Hoosiers.”

The plan originated under former Gov. Mitch Daniels and its second version was launched under former Gov. Mike Pence in February 2015 as a quasi-Medicaid expansion mostly funded by the Affordable Care Act. The waiver expires at the end of January 2018, and the extension would go until 2021.

With Pence as vice president, Indiana’s program is seen as a potential model for the rest of the nation if Obama’s health care law is repealed.

Holcomb has requested a change to expand access to substance abuse services for all Medicaid recipients. The waiver would add new covered services, such as addiction recovery management and residential treatment services.

Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 has several cost-sharing components for enrollees that aim to encourage members to seek preventive care and make good health care choices. Traditional Medicaid bears all costs of care.

“This is a plan built by Hoosiers for Hoosiers,” Holcomb said in his request letter to the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Our consumer skin-in-the-game approach has yielded better health outcomes and helped members be better informed.”

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