Hoosiers may finally get to benefit from the expanded Medicaid coverage included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the ACA or Obamacare, that was passed into law back in March of 2010. Besides the well-known health insurance mandate, under which all residents were required to enroll in some kind of insurance program, with federal subsidies of insurance premium payments, there was another provision that got little attention: the expansion of Medicaid eligibility from people with incomes up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level to 138 percent. The federal plan offered to cover, initially, 100 percent of the cost of the expanded coverage for the first three years, and then gradually reduce its subsidy to 90 percent by 2020. State responses to the offer became subject to partisanship: states led by Democrats accepted the offer, and red states initially rejected it. Several Republican governed states have since come on board. However, Indiana is a hold-out, losing out on hundreds of million of dollars of federal transfers and up to half a million more residents covered by expanded Medicaid. In the meantime, the federal government has allowed Indiana to continue with the pre-ACA state delivered medicaid program under the Healthy Indiana Plan, which was established in 2008, and currently provides coverage to around 50,000 residents. Last year, Governor Pence’s office proposed a revised plan, dubbed HIP Two Point Oh, to deliver expanded Medicaid. However, negotiations with federal authorities bogged down over some of the state program provisions, which included premiums, co-pays, and yearly maximums for recipients, which have never been a part of Medicaid. In the meantime, the state has asked for and been given waivers from the federal government to allow it to continue with the old HIP program. The most recent extension agreement, announced in mid-November, would carry the program into 2015. The joint announcements from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the CMS, and Governor Pence’s office, on the extension, also mentioned that negotiations on Medicaid expansion are continuing. On Tuesday Daily Local News correspondent David Murphy spoke to Alex Slobosky, Chairperson of Cover Indiana, which has been campaigning for state acceptance of expanded Medicaid. He informed us that he had just come from a conference in Indianapolis, where representatives of the federal and state governments talked about the current state of healthcare insurance, including the impact of the ACA on Indiana, the recent agreement to extend the state HIP for another year, and ongoing negotiations on the expansion of Medicaid in Indiana. Mister Slobosky first talked about the extension of the old HIP program.
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Kathleen Falk, the Regional Director for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appointed by the Obama Administration in 2013, serves as the Midwest’s connection to the Affordable Care Act. She stopped through Bloomington today in an event hosted by Nancy Woolery, Health Projects coordinator for the City of Bloomington. Information about the open enrollment period here, in today’s community report.
United Way and City of Bloomington produced open enrollment assistance cards that will be going out to residents to help explain the affordable care act registration process.
The Affordable Care Act’s “Health Insurance Marketplace” is open for enrollment, and a group called Cover Monroe is hosting a variety of events to help residents enroll or re-enroll in health coverage. The “CoverMonroe Project” will hold three different types of events to increase service to residents: Education and Enrollment Fairs that educate citizens about available options; Health Plan Forums to help support selecting the insurance plan that best meets family needs, and specific “Coverage Navigator” appointments for one-on-one help. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh speaks with Cover Monroe project Coordinator David Meyer about the enrollment period, the opportunities for coverage, and the ramifications for not being covered come February 15th in todays community report.
Last year 85 percent of those signing up for personal health insurance through the affordable care act got financial help to get covered. The price that people see when looking at plans online is the full coverage price, not necessarily the price they would pay once their individual finances are taken into account. Joining Anthem and Medwise in the Monore County Marketplace this year are United Health Care, Assurant Health, Care Source, and IU Health.
Members of Decarcerate Monroe County are hosting an event this Thursday, November 20th to discuss recent changes in the Indiana criminal code, the latest expansion proposal by the County Commissioners, and the links between homelessness and incarceration. Interchange host Doug storm invited Micol Seigel in to talk about some of these issues, we hear a portion of their discussion here, for today’s community report.
The full discussion can be heard on Interchange next Tuesday, November 25th at 6pm.
Last week the Indiana Supreme Court delivered a ruling on Indiana’s controversial Right to Work Law, originally passed by state legislature in 2012. The law makes it a class A misdemeanor to require someone to become or remain a member of a labor organization, or pay dues and fees. The ruling stated that this law did not infringe upon the Indiana Constitution, as claimed by union representatives. Correspondent David Murphy spoke with Indiana University Labor Studies Professor Joe Varga about the ruling and what it means for effective unions for today’s community report.
WFHB, in partnership with Community Access Television Services, hosted a full night of interviews and updates on election night. IU Professor of Political Science Majorie Hershey was among the guests to come on the show, and she spoke with WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford about her research on political parties and elections. With the votes all tallied, we hear her perspective for today’s community report.
After 15 years as Dean of the IU School of Education, Gerardo Gonzales is leaving the position. The school is one the biggest and most prestigious in the country. During his tenure, Dean Gonzales has seen the implementation of many policies by the state government which have significantly affected the professional credentialing and careers of teachers in Indiana. These regulatory changes have been associated with a significant drop in student enrollment in the school. Both things prompted IU President McRobbie to call in his recent State of the University address for the appointment of what he is calling a blue ribbon panel of experts to look at all aspects of the school’s operation, prior to the appointment of a replacement for the current dean. Recently, Daily Local News correspondent David Murphy spoke to Dean Gonzales about his retirement.
That was correspondent David Murphy speaking with IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzales on the occasion of his impending retirement from the position.