INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s a new requirement under Indiana’s Medicaid plan: Recipients who are able-bodied must work or report their job searches to training to the state to keep their health coverage.
People who did not meet the new standards faced losing Healthy Indiana Plan benefits after Dec. 31. A lawsuit is trying to stop that from happening.
As a result of the lawsuit, Indiana government’s Family and Social Services Administration decided to temporarily suspend enforcement of the work reporting requirement. The agency said it’s doing so to allow time for the lawsuit to be resolved.
Adam Mueller, the director of advocacy for nonprofit law firm Indiana Legal Services, said, “We filed the lawsuit because we allege the actions taken by the (U.S.) Health and Human Services Department to approve parts of Indiana’s Medicaid program were in violation of federal law. That includes, amongst other things, the work requirements that were supposed to start suspending folks in January.”
Mueller’s office along with the National Health Law Program filed the federal lawsuit. It details issues with premiums, and confusion surrounding the work requirements.
“Our big fear is that folks, maybe even through some misunderstanding of information, were going to lose their coverage. It’s also been our experience that once folks do lose their coverage, it’s really hard to get back on.” Mueller said. “Anytime folks don’t lose coverage is a good thing. We’re still processing what the announcement means and how that’s going to play out.”
State Rep. Ed DeLaney, an Indianapolis Democrat, said, “I think it’s a very responsible decision. Going through all of these preliminary phases and lawsuits and having injunctions and appealing those. First of all, we save the state a lot of money in legal fees and legal fights.”
An Indiana Family and Social Services Administration spokesperson said Medicaid recipients with questions should call their service provider. Recipients also should watch the mail for a letter from Family and Social Services Administration about its decision.
“Our state’s Healthy Indiana Plan has become the national model for successful state innovation that meets citizens’ healthcare needs and improves lives. We intentionally designed the Gateway to Work program to connect HIP members with opportunities to work, learn or serve. Importantly, we are building this program unlike any other state in the country, with robust supports and pathways to ensure Hoosiers can easily skill up, volunteer in their community, or get a better paying job while driving towards better health outcomes. It’s disappointing a lawsuit has been filed before the program has had an opportunity to prove its success.”Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb
“The FSSA’s announcement should remove any pressure that might otherwise prompt the federal district court to act hastily,” Attorney General Hill said. “Rather, the court has every opportunity to exercise patience and await the guidance of the appellate court. This approach would impose the fewest burdens on the State of Indiana and the individual residents participating in HIP.”Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill
Hill said he signed a joint memorandum that calls upon a federal district court to delay consideration of a lawsuit against Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Plan until after two other cases involving similar issues are resolved.