CMS Approves Indiana’s Innovative HIP Workforce Bridge Program

Indiana’s first-in-the-nation program is designed to help Hoosiers transition from HIP to private insurance; will be critical component of state’s COVID-19 recovery.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A new and unique transitional phase for Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) members has been approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced that this HIP Workforce Bridge program will give members the ability to return to the workforce and to employer insurance or other health coverage with a smooth transition. 

In 2019, the Workforce Bridge program was designed and proposed to support Governor Holcomb's Next Level agenda and find a way to help those living in Indiana maintain coverage and avoid the possible negatives of advancing in the workforce.

“The HIP Workforce Bridge program will be especially important during our state’s recovery from the COVID pandemic and as Indiana's economy evolves,” Governor Holcomb said. “As Hoosiers skill up, go back to school and go back to work, HIP Workforce Bridge will make that transition from HIP to marketplace insurance or employer-based coverage easier to navigate and afford.” 

HIP participants will be able to use up to $1,000 from their POWER accounts for up to 12 months to pay premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance during the transition period to commercial coverage.

Assistance will be available as soon as individuals become ineligible for HIP due to earning a higher income. 

Indiana is the first state to establish this innovative approach to eliminating the inevitable gap in health coverage that will prevent HIP members from pursuing employment.

With a HIP POWER account operating similar to a health savings account, each member receives $2,500 in their account for health expenses each year. Members would normally lose the ability to use funds when they are no longer enrolled in the program, and differing from a traditional health savings account, POWER accounts do not stay with the enrollee if they move to private insurance. 

 At the moment, FSSA is not currently disenrolling members of any health coverage program due to the publice health emergency. Once Governor Holcomb's executive order expires, the HIP Workforce Bridge will be in place to support members.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that we provide stability and peace of mind for Hoosiers, especially when it comes to matters of their health,” said Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. “We anticipate that more Hoosiers may need HIP health coverage during the emergency and we want to make sure that everyone can safely transition as they are able. This is one of our first efforts to mitigate the eligibility cliff effect in Indiana, which is a priority across all of our programs now more than ever.”

HIP members facing disenrollment will be notified of their options and how to participate in the HIP Workforce Bridge program. 

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