The Indiana Department of Correction says it has reached a milestone by enrolling thousands of released offenders in HIP 2.0 and Medicaid.
A state law that took effect last July required the department to work with offenders who are about to be released to ensure they have healthcare coverage through either the state or federal program. Ten months later, more than 12,000 such offenders have signed up. Only about 500 inmates released in that time weren’t enrolled. Department officials say that number includes non-residents, offenders who transferred to local jails, or those who previously had Medicaid coverage. Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director David Powell says health care can have an enormous impact on reducing recidivism. He says ensuring coverage is particularly impactful when providing access to mental health care and addiction treatment. "The data just shows it, that crime is driven by substance abuse and drugs, primarily,” he says. The Department of Correction reports that since last July, nearly $4 million in Medicaid claims have been paid out. If those patients hadn't been insured, the cost would have been borne by either the patients themselves or healthcare providers.