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Hospitals, residents wait for state Medicaid expansion

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Under the Affordable Care Act, states are now required to go along with the Federal Medicaid expansion, or come up with their own health plan. The law is set to provide health insurance to lower income residents. In Indiana, a decision has yet to be made, and that's proving to be costly.

For some folks, the value of their health is priceless.

But a trip to the emergency room isn't.

"They end up in a really high-cost environment, where as they'd be better served by a primary care physician," Jeffrey Costello, Chief Financial Officer for Beacon Health System, said.

He manages finances for hospitals like Memorial, and said over the past year, one big cost has been providing health care for uninsured patients.

Last year, Beacon Health System spent over $80 million tending to these types of patients.

Costello hopes the state adopts the federal medicaid expansion, and soon, to help control costs.

"We definitely encourage the state to look at this in a fiscally responsible manner. We need to make sure we're making the right decisions on behalf of all Hoosiers," Costello said. "But at the same time, we think that it's the right thing to do in terms of providing more access to these patients that desperately need the coverage."

Concerns over cost though, are slowing down the process.

It's estimated an additional 400,000 Hoosiers would need health insurance.

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