Health care reform will bring an end to a popular Indiana program that helps the working poor afford health insurance.About 45,000 Hoosiers are covered under the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP.
Beth Ruble said she turned to the state program for health insurance last year after she lost her job."The least expensive I could find was $350 a month. So, it came down to literally I could live in my car and have health care, or I could live in my home and do without," Ruble said.Ruble considers HIP a lifeline at a time when she needed it and is disappointed the program will end."I just hope it isn't discontinued before the national plan kicks in," she said.Marcus Barlow, of the Family and Social Services Administration, said HIP participants will not be dropped overnight.Participants will continue receiving HIP benefits, but in 2014, they will become Medicaid recipients.Barlow said HIP has been a huge success, providing thousands of Hoosiers an innovative insurance plan that stresses personal responsibility."What we've seen is that when you allow people decisions in their health care coverage, when you allow people to be responsible, when you have them make a payment, they have skin in the game," Barlow said. "People become healthier. People take that seriously."Ruble said she doesn't like the prospect of moving to Medicaid."I dont know if it would be as flexible as what the Healthy Indiana Plan has been," she said. "I did send a letter to President Obama, and I had kind of hoped that they would call Mitch Daniels' office and perhaps use HIP as kind of a starting point for the national model."Daniels said officials are devising a phase-out of the program and said most new HIP applications will be suspended.