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 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.
In this fiscal year’s budget, $550 million was allocated to the program 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, State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) 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.