Illinois Medicaid

The state of Illinois has cut in half the number of insurers in its Medicaid managed care program.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced Friday it has selected six insurers to participate in the overhauled program, down from the 12 currently participating. The insurers administer Medicaid benefits under the managed care program.

The insurers remaining in the program for the next four years are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Harmony Health Plan, IlliniCare Health, Meridian Health, Molina Healthcare and CountyCare Health Plan.

Christine Herman/Illinois Public Media

After 18 years serving the Metro East region of Illinois, pediatrician Kristin Stahl is crafting an exit strategy and may eventually close her practice.  Two years of unpaid bills during the state’s budget impasse have driven her into debt and to the end of her patience.  

“The state has historically been so terrible in its payments that it’s very difficult to keep in business,” Stahl said.

Several Democrats running for governor of Illinois are proposing the state enact universal healthcare.

J.B. Pritzker is the latest to bring out a plan. He wants to let anyone buy into the Medicaid program, which is currently limited to the poor, elderly and disabled. 

However, two other Democratic candidates said Pritzker's plan doesn't go far enough. State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston and Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar said Illinois should create its own single-payer plan. That’s where all healthcare is paid for by the government, instead of private insurance. 

Ryan Delaney/St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said the Republican effort to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act could devastate drug treatment clinics by making deep cuts to Medicaid, the government-run insurance program for low-income Americans.

Attorneys for Medicaid service providers in Illinois are asking for about $1.1 billion dollars in each of the next four months.

Despite the lack of a budget, a federal judge has ordered Illinois to move faster in reimbursing doctors and hospitals who treat Medicaid patients. Some doctors have been waiting six months for payments because the state is so far behind in paying its bills -- and they’re threatening to stop seeing low-income patients.

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