health insurance

WUIS

The failure to pass a real budget is driving up the cost of Illinois government. The state hasn’t been paying its bills for employee health care — and interest penalties now exceed $500 million dollars.

It’s no secret credit card companies make their money when people don’t pay their bills in full. Those interest rates cause even a modest bill to grow quickly.

"Electronic Stethescope" By Flickr User Ted Eytan / (CC BY 2.0)

A Springfield medical group is requiring patients insured by the state to pay half of their expected surgery bills up front.

The State Journal-Register reports that the requirement from the Orthopedic Center of Illinois comes at a time when payments for the care of state workers, retirees and dependents insured through the State Employees' Group Insurance Program total $3.66 billion - and are overdue a year and a half or more.

Those delays have grown amid the lack of a permanent state budget.

Flickr user Michael Chen "Pills" (CC BY 2.0) bit.ly/1RgH2Na

An Illinois law that takes effect January first guarantees contraceptive coverage free of co-pays.

The federal Affordable Care Act already provides for that, but some insurers have managed to skirt requirements and have not covered all methods of birth control, according to Representative Elaine Nekritz. 

The Northbrook Democrat sponsored that law the Governor signed over the summer.

“The legislation would also allow and in fact require that a woman could get 12 months of contraception in one visit to the pharmacy,” Nekritz said.

  Medicare’s annual open enrollment ends December 7th.   State insurance program director Sandy Leith says it’s a good time for residents to review their coverage.  

 

"If you do nothing, and your plan is still going to be there in 2017, then you'll wake up January 1 in the same plan and that's fine. We just want to make sure everybody does a check-up annually to make sure that their Medicare health plans and drug plans work best for them."

 

"041/365 - April 29, 2009" By Flickr User Morgan / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois consumers who buy health insurance on the marketplace created by President Barack Obama's overhaul will find less choice than ever when they pick a policy for next year.

The lack of competition is felt nationally. A new analysis by The Associated Press and Avalere Health finds about one-third of U.S. counties will have only one health marketplace insurer next year.

In Illinois, last time around, there were three or more marketplace insurers offering plans for 2016 in all counties.

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