South Bend Tribune
Last July, in a comment about Indiana’s just-submitted proposal for expanding health care coverage to low-income Hoosiers, we urged officials to quickly move forward when and if approval came from the federal government.
“For Indiana residents without health care coverage,” we wrote, “there’s no time to waste.”
By any reasonable measure, the state’s launch of the plan dubbed HIP 2.0 has been quick. In the four months since Indiana’s Medicaid alternative was approved, some 177,000 Hoosiers have been enrolled. Combined with those in existing state programs who were folded into the revamped Healthy Indiana Plan, the total number of participants is at about 283,000.
Most of those currently enrolled — about 71 percent — are women. About 130,000 have incomes below 5 percent of the poverty level, and 90 percent of HIP enrollees make less than 100 percent of the poverty level.
In St. Joseph County, 10,893 were enrolled in the program as of May. That’s compared with the 2,499 enrolled in January, before the program was approved for expansion.
In an effort to reach even more Indiana residents, the state will start an ad campaign Monday to build more awareness of HIP 2.0 among the uninsured. The campaign, which includes radio, TV and digital media advertisements, will target hundreds of thousands of Indiana residents who qualify for the plan.
Indiana is receiving federal matching funds for the $2 million statewide effort. The projection is to enroll a total of 357,000 by the end of the year.
It’s easy to support such a goal in a state that regularly sits at the bottom of national rankings on a variety of health issues — infant mortality, smoking, obesity among them.
Even those who, like us, argued for traditional Medicaid expansion, should have no problem celebrating the growing number of low-income Hoosiers who now have health insurance. And getting behind the state’s new effort to encourage even more to join their ranks — the sooner the better.
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