Healthy Indiana Plan: Scheduling a Physical

I have gotten my information packet from MDWise but I had to call to get my RID number and assigned physician. Today I got my second POWER account bill from MDWise, but it said I didn’t owe anything. I tried to call my physician to schedule a physical and they said that the doctor was no longer accepting additional patients and that I would need to call MDWise to work that out. So far, my experience with the HIP has been one of a lack of communication, clarity, and knowledge by the people I’ve talked to both on the FSSA side and the MDWise side.

Update:  I called MDWise and was able to speak with someone pretty promptly.  She told me that I would have to pick another doctor and pointed me to the list (actually a search) on the MDWise web site.   She had some trouble pronouncing the doctors names which wasn’t a problem because I had the web page in front of me, but would have been really confusing if I was just on the phone.   She had to list the names because not all of the doctors were accepting patients.  She said that I should pick a doctor and call MDWise back.  She said it would take 3-5 business days to make the switch and notify the doctor’s office and that I couldn’t call the doctor I chose to make an appointment until after that.

Healthy Indiana Plan Update

I still haven’t gotten my introductory literature from my health provider (MDWise) or my second month’s bill for my POWER account.  I called MDWise and they said they were behind on sending them but that I should receive them “soon”.  The rep also said that I shouldn’t worry about being late on my POWER account payment because of the delay in sending out the bills.  Finally, I was able to get the name and # of my assigned doctor and my Recipient ID (RID) number so I can go and receive healthcare.  So, if anyone else has the HIP and hasn’t heard from them, call MDWise or Anthem and see if you can get your info.  You can call Anthem at 1-800-553-2019 and MDWise at  1-877-822-7196 or 317-822-7196 if you are in the Indianapolis area.

More on healthcare

I just wanted to post a link to an old post about the Healthy Indiana Plan because it’s got some recent comment activity that might be of use to some.  You can find that post here.  I believe that the point of contact for the HIP is the FSSA, so many of the issues discussed in the previous post about the FSSA forum can also be seen in trying to navigate through the HIP system.

Also,  I heard a story on NPR this morning about a report that even insured people were experiencing less access to healthcare.  I couldn’t find a link to the story, but I did find a Reuters article on the report.

From Insured losing access to healthcare – US study:

 About 20 percent of the U.S. population delayed or were unable to get access to medical care when they needed it in 2007, up from 14 percent four years earlier, a study released on Thursday found.

About 9.5 million more people went without medical care in 2007, compared with 2003, the nationally representative survey released by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan policy group, found.

In a striking finding, the survey said although those without insurance were more likely to report going without care, those with insurance had a greater percentage increase in unmet medical needs.

Healthy Indiana Plan application status

So I’ve been tracking my application to the Healthy Indiana Plan on this blog and I recently got a comment asking if I had heard anything about the status of my application.   I haven’t yet heard anything back about this plan, either through regular or electronic mail.  I will post more as I find out more about the process.

healthcare cont’d

I still haven’t heard back about my application to Indiana’s state-subsidised health insurance, but I heard a story on Morning Edition this morning about a Massachusetts law that requires all state residents to have health insurance or face a tax penalty.  There is a plan in place to make health insurance more accessible to the uninsured and to subsidize the costs of insurance for people below 3x the poverty level.  Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports an “individual mandate” similar to the Massachusetts plan.


Healthy Indiana Plan

Currently, I don’t have any health insurance. I think this is true for most of my peers, and for many low-income people, whether they’re low-income because of lifestyle and career choices, like me, or because they lack the economic mobility to obtain incomes that would allow for jobs that get a whole life policy with dividends and health coverage. None of them have incomes that would allow the purchase of individual insurance.

Currently, I have access to some medical care through the Monroe County Volunteers in Medicine clinic, which offers free medical and dental care, similar to what you would receive from an Atlanta orthodontist  or a family doctor or dentist to residents of Monroe County who are below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This is certainly a good resource, but I’m not sure how far the care extends for advanced procedures, or in the event of some kind of emergency or catastrophic illness or injury.

Indiana recently introduced the Healthy Indiana Plan which is state-subsidized health insurance for low-income Indiana residents. Again, to qualify for this, one must be a legal Indiana resident, between 19 and 64, and make less than 200% of the FPLwhich amounts to:

Family Size Maximum Annual Income* Approximate Maximum Monthly Income
1 $20,400 $1,700
2 $27,360 $2,280
3 $34,320 $2,860
4 $41,280 $3,440
5 $48,240 $4,020

The cost of this insurance will be between 2 and 5% of the gross family income for qualifying people, and according to the HIP website, the coverage includes:

physician services, prescriptions, diagnostic exams, home health services, outpatient hospital, inpatient hospital, hospice, preventive services, family planning, and case and disease management.Mental health coverage is also included and is similar to coverage for physical health, and includes substance abuse treatment, inpatient, outpatient, and prescription drugs.

The HIP coverage is 3-tiered and structured like this:

  • A POWER Account valued at $1,100 per adult to pay for medical costs. Contributions to the account are made by the State and each participant (based on ability to pay). No participant will pay more than 5% of his/her gross family income on the plan.
  • A basic commercial benefits package once annual medical costs exceed $1,100.
  • Coverage for preventive services up to $500 a year at no cost to participants.

This seems very Republican (relative to some of the rhethoric I’ve heard in the news about different suggestions for health coverage policies) in it’s design because of the inclusion of the POWER Account (which I assume is what I’ve heard called a medical savings account) and because the plan seems to be administered by two private carriers: Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and MDWise with AmeriChoice.

I believe that coverage will be limited to around 30,000 people (due to limitations on funding) and the plan will be funded by an increased tax on cigarette sales, but haven’t confirmed this in the actual release of the plan.

Of personal interest to me is the fact that it seems that much of the plan information is accessed and administered via the Internet. All plan participants must have an e-mail account (or will be given one if they do not) and both carriers list “Community Resource Centers” with internet access as part of their “Enhanced Services”. I think that more and more social services are using Internet technologies because they allow for cost savings. However, I fear that the costs of home Internet access (particularly for people with bad/no credit), unfamiliarity or discomfort with using Internet services, and the restrictions on access to public Internet resources like libraries or community resource centers (hours that the facilities are open may not match work schedules, no childcare options) may make the navigation of social services more alienating for their users.

In any case, I’m going to apply for the HIP and blog about my experiences.

Link to HIP home page
to summary of HIP