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Deep-red Indiana embraces Obamacare Medicaid expansion

Indiana became the latest GOP-controlled state to embrace the expansion, having successfully convinced the Obama administration to allow reforms to the program.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pauses during a speech in Indianapolis, on Jan. 27, 2015. (Photo by Michael Conroy/AP)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announces that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services had approved the state's waiver request for the plan his administration calls HIP 2.0 during a speech in Indianapolis, Jan. 27, 2015.

Indiana has become the latest GOP-controlled state to embrace Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, having successfully convinced the Obama administration to make significant reforms to the program.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Indiana would be moving forward with the expansion. Known as Healthy Indiana, it will replace traditional Medicaid for all non-disabled residents between 19 and 64. 

Unlike traditional Medicaid, Healthy Indiana will require participants to make monthly contributions in order to receive full coverage. Those under the federal poverty line (FPL)—$11,670 for single adults—will have to pay between $1 and $20 per month to avoid losing dental, vision, and other ancillary benefits. Those earning slightly more than the poverty line—up to $15,171 as a single adult, or 138% above the FPL—will be locked out of coverage for six months if they miss two premium payments in a row. 

"This has been a long process, but real reform takes work."'

The maximum required payment will be $26 for those at 138% above the federal poverty line, according to Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Indiana governor’s office. The plan also includes a co-pay for using the emergency room.

Similar to premiums in private insurance, the required payments will be deposited into a health savings account. Participants can use those accounts to help purchase private insurance through their employers—a reform that will be “the first of its kind in the nation,” according to Pence’s statement. 

“Since the beginning of my administration, we have worked hard to ensure that low-income Hoosiers have access to a health care plan that empowers them to take charge of their health and prepares them to move to private insurance as they improve their lives,” Pence said. “This has been a long process, but real reform takes work.”

Related: The GOP’s new Obamacare offensive

Indiana has become the 29th state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. More GOP states that initially resisted the expansion have since come on board after securing certain reforms to the program. In Indiana’s case, approval from the Obama administration came only after the state relented on some more punitive proposed changes to the program.