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Lack of data fuels concerns as new slots for Medicaid waivers are set to open July 1

Senator Fady Qaddoura speaking into a microphone at a podium with an United States flag flying behind him.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
At a recent State Budget Committee meeting, Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) again asked Medicaid officials if they had any data on how many people were on the waitlist. Medicaid officials said they did not have the exact number.

In April, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration implemented a waitlist for services under an important waiver in response to last year’s $1 billion Medicaid shortfall.

New waiver slots will open on July 1 — but there’s still some uncertainty around whether there will be enough slots to accommodate those on the waitlist.

Indiana has 50,600 slots for the Aged and Disabled waiver. On July 1, that number will increase to 55,000, with the new slots split between the Pathways for Aging waiver and Health and Wellness waiver.

Advocates and lawmakers have raised concerns that the number of people on the waitlist will be greater than the number of available slots.

At a recent State Budget Committee meeting, Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) again asked Medicaid officials if they had any data on how many people were on the waitlist. FSSA Secretary Daniel Rusyniak said he didn’t have the exact number.

“We would anticipate that by the time we're getting into that budget cycle, we should have a pretty good idea,” Rusyniak said.

READ MORE: Family caregivers: FSSA has thrown another '11th hour curveball' in Medicaid program transition

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Rusyniak said not everyone on the waitlist will end up on the waiver, based on the eligibility criteria for the home- and community-based services waivers. In addition, slots that were "filled" during the year by someone who is no longer on the waiver will open on July 1.

He also said the agency will have more information about the status of the waitlist after several changes to Medicaid waivers go into effect on July 1.

Those changes include the implementation of the Pathways for Aging program for Medicaid members older than 60 and the transition to the Health and Wellness waiver for Medicaid members younger than 60.

“Once we start rolling it out, I think we'll have a better idea as to how many folks are coming into each every month, how many are coming off the waiver each month, and as part of that, should be able to have a better idea in terms of projections,” Rusyniak said.

Rusyniak said those projections will help identify if or when another waitlist will be necessary.

FSSA said it will have more information available “soon.”

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.