Indiana Gets Federal Approval For Medicaid Plan That Could Slice Enrollment

Kaiser Health News

By: Phil Galewitz

Indiana on Friday became the second state to win federal approval to add a work requirement for adult Medicaid recipients who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but a less debated “lockout” provision in its new plan could lead to tens of thousands of enrollees losing coverage. The federal approval was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in Indianapolis.

The new lockout builds on one already in place in the state for people who failed to pay monthly premiums and had annual incomes above the federal poverty level, or about $12,200 for an individual. They are barred for six months from coverage. During the first two years of the experiment, about 10,000 Indiana Medicaid enrollees were subject to the lockout for failing to pay the premium for two months in a row, according to state data.

“The ‘lockout” is one of the worst policies to hit Medicaid in a long time,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “Forcing people to remain uninsured for months because they missed a paperwork deadline or missed a premium payment is too high a price to pay. From a health policy perspective it makes no sense because during that period, chronic health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes are just likely to worsen.”

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