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Indiana creates Medicaid work rules for low-income Hoosiers

Indiana has become the latest state to implement work requirements for low-income residents who receive their health insurance through Medicaid — a change that opponents warn will cost some under resourced Hoosiers their health coverage.

Posted: Jul 15, 2019 9:34 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana has become the latest state to implement work requirements for low-income residents who receive their health insurance through Medicaid — a change that opponents warn will cost some under resourced Hoosiers their health coverage.

The state's Gateway to Work program began July 1. The new program will require an estimated 72,000 people to report their work hours or other activity to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration in order to keep their coverage, WFYI-FM reported.

The requirements start at 20 hours a month but will jump to 80 hours a month by July 2020. Adam Mueller with Indiana Legal Services, which helps low-income Hoosiers, and other protesters contend the changes will result in people losing their health coverage under the program. They highlight the issue in Arkansas, where more than 18,000 people lost coverage after the state implemented a related program.

"The notices that we have seen appear to be very complicated with a lot of language and definitions and terminology that aren't exactly clear," Mueller says. "To the extent that there are efforts to get the word out, it's not clear to me that those have been effective."

Sarah Somers, attorney for the National Health Law Program, said many states have been pushing for Medicaid work requirements.

"The sort of guiding philosophy behind this was that these are able-bodied people who should be able to work and they shouldn't get health insurance for nothing," Somers says.

The National Health Law Program has sued to halt some of these alterations in other states. In March, a federal judge struck down work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky.

Jennifer Walthall, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said the state doesn't want reporting rules to make any residents lose their health coverage.

Since February, the agency has sent out letters, postcards and emails to its members to inform them of changes.

She added the program intends to connect people with job training, education or comparable programs. The monthly reports won't require signatures, paperwork or pay stubs. The state will trust that participants are truthful.

"We're not trying to make this a full-time job, we're actually trying to help people get real full-time jobs," Walthall said. "So we don't want to get in their way."

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667262

Reported Deaths: 12737
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion913541660
Lake48729891
Allen36175646
Hamilton32489398
St. Joseph30361514
Elkhart25536420
Vanderburgh21343382
Tippecanoe20240205
Johnson16485363
Porter16077281
Hendricks15955302
Clark12079182
Madison11810323
Vigo11699234
Monroe10440164
Delaware9899179
LaPorte9838201
Howard9127203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7531147
Hancock7471134
Warrick7456153
Floyd7269173
Wayne6661192
Grant6465158
Boone618691
Morgan6135129
Dubois5942112
Dearborn551570
Cass5489100
Marshall5456105
Henry544395
Noble513878
Jackson465967
Shelby463591
Lawrence4197113
Gibson405585
Harrison404065
Clinton397653
Montgomery391984
DeKalb388278
Miami358463
Knox357886
Whitley352438
Huntington350877
Steuben340455
Putnam334660
Wabash333976
Ripley328062
Adams326349
Jasper319343
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261732
Wells259175
Scott252150
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings216944
Washington213327
Sullivan203839
Fountain202842
Starke190051
Owen184254
Fulton179937
Jay178828
Carroll176919
Perry174136
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161543
Franklin160135
Tipton150041
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96832
Brown95340
Crawford92613
Benton92513
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

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