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Indiana Governor Mike Pence Announces Medicaid Expansion Plan

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is joining the list of red state governors working to expand health care access for low-income uninsured residents.

Pence announced a two-tier Medicaid expansion plan on Thursday, after working with the Obama administration over several months to confront the state's health care coverage gap.

The proposal, which the governor calls "HIP 2.0," will expand the state's market-based Healthy Indiana Plan. HIP 2.0 will be available to Indiana residents aged 19 to 64 earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, according to a statement from Pence's office.

HIP 2.0 provides two levels of coverage: one for residents living above the poverty line, and one below. Indianans living below the poverty line will have access to basic health coverage, with the option of making a monthly payment for access to vision and dental benefits. Those living above the poverty level will be expected to pay a monthly contribution; if they don't make the payment within 60 days, they'll be locked out of the health care program for six months.

“Reforming traditional Medicaid is essential to creating better health outcomes and curbing the dramatic growth in Medicaid spending,” Pence said in the statement. “HIP 2.0 takes consumer-driven Medicaid reform to the next level by replacing traditional Medicaid for many in Indiana with a plan that empowers participants to take charge of their health and to be cost-conscious consumers.”

Pence has applied for a waiver to use funds issued to the state for the federal Medicaid program to pay for health coverage through the state's Healthy Indiana Plan. The state will hold public hearings and take public comment during a 30-day period before submitting a final waiver proposal.

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