Medicaid, HIP come with 'elephant'-size prices

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Covering 400,000 more low-income residents through Medicaid or the Healthy Indiana Plan carries one major uncertainty: the price tag.

The Indiana Hospital Association estimates expanding Medicaid would cost $503 million. State actuary Milliman Inc. puts the cost at $2 billion.

A 2011 report says Gov. Mike Pence's call to use the Healthy Indiana Plan could cost 44 percent more than Medicaid.

Pence staff members say they haven't determined how much it will cost and that the number is somewhat irrelevant until they hear back from the Obama administration about whether they can use the Healthy Indiana Plan for the expansion.

But everyone knows time is of the essence as Pence and state lawmakers work to craft the state's next two-year budget by the end of April.

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