Frolm State Senator Tom Bennett:
HFS halts co-pay requirement on state-funded undocumented immigrant healthcare program
On Sept. 5, the Governor’s Administration sent a notice to hospitals regarding the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors Programs, informing them not to collect co-pays from patients enrolled in the program.
The program provides top-notch healthcare to undocumented immigrants ages 42 and older in Illinois.
Back in June, Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) filed emergency administrative rules to set maximum co-pay amounts for certain services in an attempt to rein in state costs of the ballooning program, which was expected to cost $1.1 billion this fiscal year. Previously, undocumented immigrants in the program were allowed free services without co-pays.
However, even though the emergency rules went into effect immediately, HFS is now informing providers that the cost-sharing portion of the rules were never meant to be implemented immediately and is on hold until further notice.
$550 million was allocated to the program in this fiscal year’s budget, despite projections showing costs over $1 billion.
To attempt to lower these costs, the Pritzker Administration filed a variety of new rules, but has failed to provide an updated financial outlook of the program.
Given the recent pushback by many in the Governor’s own party over his “cost saving measures” and the lack of transparency, Sen. Bennett says he isn’t confident that the program will stay within the $550 million allocated to the program.
He adds that it is likely just a matter of time before the Governor and the Majority Party come back to the Legislature asking for more money.