Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

June 3, 2008

HIP can be better

THE ISSUE:The Healthy Indiana Plan.

OUR VIEW:Legislators and FSSA should review the plan in the next session. The idea is help as many Hoosiers as possible.

For more information: Call (877) GET-HIP-9.



In January, Indiana took what many believe to be an extraordinary step. It began offering health insurance to the working poor.

For the first time in state history, non-disabled residents ages 19 to 64, with incomes 200 percent below the federal poverty level and offered no employer-sponsored care, could get health insurance through the Healthy Indiana Plan. To date, more than 10,000 Hoosiers are enrolled.

That’s a good start. But Indiana can do better. Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Mitch Roob thinks so.

In particular, Roob encourages a legislative discussion concerning the definition of employer-offered health care. Some employers offer health-care benefits, but premiums are unaffordable for their employees.

“We need to decide what are we going to define as ‘employer-sponsored health care’. Is it any time the employer offers health coverage, regardless of perceived affordability? Because that’s the way it was written into the [law],” he said. “It’s a debate that needs to happen.”

The legislature funded HIP to include up to 130,000 Hoosiers. But more state residents have been excluded entry into the health-care program than have been enrolled. Among the most common reasons for denial are failure to provide more information to the state, having had health insurance within the past six months, having income that exceeds the cut off, and already having insurance.

Is the income requirement too restrictive?

That’s another discussion legislators and the FSSA should have. The idea is to help as many Hoosiers as possible.

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