Indiana To Offer Health Savings Accounts to Low-Income Residents
On Friday, HHS announced the approval of a Medicaid waiver in Indiana that will permit the state to enroll low-income residents in a state-subsidized, high-deductible health care plan that includes provisions similar to health savings accounts, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 12/14). To qualify, residents' incomes must be less than 200% of the federal poverty level, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.
Beneficiaries will make payments to the Personal Wellness and Responsibility account based on an incremental scale, with contributions not exceeding 5% of the family's income. The account will cover up to $1,100 of their medical expenses. Once residents reach that deductible, private insurance purchased by the state will take effect (Freking, AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/15). Health benefits covered under the program include physician consultation, prescription drugs, home health services, in-patient and out-patient care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and preventive services. Unused funds in the account can carry over to offset the following year's contributions if the beneficiary has obtained age-appropriate preventive health care services, according to CQ HealthBeat.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in a statement endorsed the program, saying that it is "critical that every state in this nation be thinking of creative new ways to help residents gain access to health care, and, at the same time, working to make those ideas become reality" (CQ HealthBeat, 12/14).
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said, "This is a big step forward that will lead to approximately 120,000 uninsured Hoosiers having the peace of mind of health insurance" (AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/15).