Not that long ago, virtually every indicator for quality healthcare for many rural Hoosiers was headed down in the wrong direction. Thousands of needy families in rural areas and small towns suffered through illness and injury until things got so bad that they would rush to the emergency room. There they often presented advanced symptoms that were costly to treat and could have been easily taken care of in a much earlier stage.
This was a bad situation for patients, families, hospitals and clinics alike. The families who needed healthcare waited so long because they didn’t have either the money or the insurance to get the medical services they needed. Often the services provided through the emergency room exceeded what the patient could pay. So the hospital ended up having to absorb and write off most of the costs with the patient trying to pay what they could afford.
This loop of last-second expensive healthcare continued to afflict Hoosier families until Gov. Mike Pence led an effort that truly reformed critical Medicaid benefits. Though the provisions created through what we today call HIP 2.0, families and patients can apply for and receive affordable care. Amazingly, through HIP 2.0, families now achieve the dual benefits of getting healthcare on a regular basis when they need it, and simultaneously lower family healthcare costs by getting healthy and staying there. HIP 2.0 has been widely embraced – many physicians who had stopped taking Medicaid patients because of the lose-lose proposition are now re-considering and adding new patients.
How successful is HIP 2.0? More than 355,000 Hoosiers and their families have enrolled. That’s a lot of people – nearly a third of all people living in rural areas or small towns in Indiana. With 355,000 people enrolled, that means hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers now have access to regular and timely care. That means better quality outcomes across the board. That means a healthier Indiana. That means higher productivity from workers who aren’t sick or who don’t have to take time off from work because of family illnesses. It means higher performance at school and a better quality of life for senior citizens enrolled in HIP 2.0.
Participants on HIP 2.0 have also proven to be surprisingly thrifty and diligent about saving for future healthcare needs through the innovative HSA plan available through HIP 2.0. About 70% of all participants are putting some money away for times when medical expenses might run higher.
True innovation in government doesn’t come along very often. But with the advent of HIP 2.0 and the federal government’s support and cooperation, HIP 2.0 has achieved the status of true innovation for the benefit of everyone.
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