By Carla Anderson
March 31, 2014
While the number of Indiana residents who selected a health plan through HealthCare.gov grew to nearly 65,000 as of March 1, that’s that’s only 65 percent of the federal government’s target. Enrollments are expected to pick up in the final days of open enrollment. Indiana health care centers and other organizations who are assisting consumers with enrollment are reporting a flood of calls.
Eighty-eight percent of Indiana residents who selected a health plan qualified for financial assistance, which is five points more than the national average. To date, 24 percent of Hoosiers who selected a health plan are between the ages of 18 and 34, compared to 25 percent nationally. Younger adults are generally healthier, so insurers are hopeful enough of them will sign up to balance the higher cost of covering older adults who may be less healthy.
In addition to those who signed up for private health plans, nearly 66,000 people qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) according to the latest enrollment report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Indiana is not expanding its Medicaid program; these individuals qualified under existing eligibility rules.
March 31 is the last day to apply for private health insurance coverage for 2014. However, federal officials announced that anyone who has started an application on HealthCare.gov but not completed it as of March 31 can have until April 15 to finish enrolling. The extension is available in Indiana and all other states using HealthCare.gov for enrollment. Consumers can qualify for the extension just by clicking a box on HealthCare.gov; no documentation is needed.
Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year.
Individuals who remain uninsured after March may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
Indiana is among the 26 states that opted to use the federal health insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov. While former Gov. Mitch Daniels was a critic of the Affordable Care Act, he refrained from making a final decision about the state’s marketplace and asked the three gubernatorial candidates for their opinions. Following the election, then Gov.-elect Mike Pence weighed in and rejected both the state-run and partnership models.
Four insurers are offering policies through the marketplace in Indiana: MDWise, Coordinated Care, Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana and Anthem. However, about two-thirds of the state’s 91 counties will be served by only one or two insurers.
According to HHS, the average cost for a bronze plan —the lowest-cost option — in Indiana is $304 a month. The national average for a bronze policy is $249 a month.
HHS reports nearly 910,000 people in Indiana, or 16 percent of the population, are uninsured and eligible to use the marketplace.
Indiana has rejected expanding Medicaid, which would have extended eligibility to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that about 182,000 Indiana residents will fall into the coverage gap — making too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidies to purchase private insurance through the marketplace.
Indiana did receive a federal waiver to continue its Healthy Indiana Plan through 2014. The Healthy Indiana Plan is a state insurance program in which participants help pay the first $1,100 of care. However, the program doesn’t cover as much as Medicaid does, and there is a limit on the number of people that can be covered. The waiting list for the Healthy Indiana Plan currently stands at 52,000 people.
State Exchange Profile: Indiana
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Indiana’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Indiana Department of Insurance
Assists consumers who have purchased insurance on the individual market or who have insurance through an employer who only does business in Indiana.
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