Indiana one step closer to work requirements for some HIP 2.0 enrollees

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is among ten states waiting for the federal government's approval to enact work requirements for Medicaid.

Governor Holcomb asked for the requirement as part of the state's application to renew the federal waiver that would allow HIP 2.0 to continue.

New guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the government will back states like Indiana that want to make work, or community involvement, a stipulation for eligibility.

The condition would apply to about one-third of the able-bodied adults enrolled in Indiana's HIP 2.0 program, which is funded through Medicaid

The state wants to require those adults to work 20 hours per week, be enrolled in school - at least part time - or participate in the state's "Gateway to Work" initiative that would connect them with job training and employment services.

In a statement, the Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Dr. Jennifer Walthall says her agency is pleased to receive the guidance that supports the state's plan:

"Becoming an active and productive member of the community is an important part of healthy living. We'll work closely with eligible HIP members to find the best options that will, over time, help lead them to self-sufficiency and stability, as well as employer-sponsored or private market health coverage."

The Indiana Institute for Working Families opposes the condition. 

"What we find in the field is most of the people who can work are working. And so, what we're left with are some folks who may have vulnerability, they may have some barriers to the workplace. And what would be a more effective strategy would be to identify those barriers and figure out ways to ameliorate those barriers," said Jessica Fraser, Indiana Institute for Working Families.

The new federal guidelines exempt pregnant women and the "medically frail", and allow states to define "work" broadly to include job training, volunteering, drug addiction treatment, or caring for a family member.

The FSSA Secretary says she expects the state's application for renewal in the coming days.

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