Spotlight on Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 leads insurers to see 'tsunami' of customer interest

Indiana's Medicaid expansion program has been held up as example of an innovative state-designed pilot under the ACA. Image: Getty/csfotoimages

As Indiana’s Medicaid expansion experiment gains greater attention thanks to the current political climate, insurers that offer coverage through the program said they’re pleased with the surge in consumer interest.

The Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, a program approved via a waiver from the federal government, requires beneficiaries to contribute a small amount toward their monthly premiums via health savings accounts. Already held up as a model for some conservative states to emulate, it has gained even more prominence since one of its primary architects, Seema Verma, took the helm of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

For Anthem, the spotlight on the state’s program has led it to substantially increase its staffing to handle questions from consumers and providers, Catherine Zito, the senior government relations director of Anthem’s Indiana Medicaid operations, said during a presentation Monday in the state’s capital, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.

When HIP 2.0 first debuted in 2015, the insurer faced “growing pains” since it had to rapidly implement the program, Zito said. But now, she is encouraged by consumers’ level of interest in gaining coverage and obtaining care, the article said.

“There’s a tsunami of newly eligible, newly engaged people hitting the system,” added Caitlin Priest, the government relations director of CareSource Indiana, which only recently began offering HIP 2.0 plans.

And an official from MDwise, which has enrolled 130,000 people since HIP 2.0 started, reported that the insurer has experienced “tremendous” success with the program, the article adds.

In general, Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has been a boon for insurers, especially those with a background in Medicaid managed care like Centene and Molina. And after the failure of a House bill that would have repealed major Affordable Care Act provisions, a handful of holdout states are mulling expanding their eligibility programs.

Verma and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, meanwhile, have begun an effort to encourage states to experiment with more right-leaning Medicaid reforms, including work requirements for beneficiaries.

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