Illinois to cut state-funded healthcare for illegal immigrants, green card holders after soaring costs


Illinois officials are poised to slash a pair of state-funded health insurance programs that cover non-citizens and illegal immigrants, citing soaring costs that have surpassed their estimated projections.

In a statement last week, the state announced changes would be coming to the eligibility requirements for the Healthcare Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Seniors program, as the cost to run the initiative ballooned to more than $1 billion over the last year. 

Illegal immigrants and non-citizen green card holders who have been in the U.S. for fewer than five years will no longer be covered by a pair of the state’s health insurance programs beginning April 1, according to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).

“The Department is also committed to ensuring that individuals who are no longer eligible for benefits…  receive helpful information about their options so they can connect to alternative coverage, particularly through the federal ACA Marketplace,” the statement read.

ILLINOIS HEALTH CARE PROGRAM FOR NONCITIZENS, INCLUDING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, BALLOONS TO $1.1B 

A photo of J.B. Pritzker

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

HFS estimated at least 6,000 people will lose coverage come May 1. 

“The redetermination process ensures that those who are enrolled remain eligible for coverage,” HFS spokesperson Jamie Munks told WBEZ Chicago in a statement. “If an individual loses coverage through the redetermination process, it is because they no longer meet eligibility requirements, or they are required to respond or submit additional information to prove their continued eligibility, but they do not do so.”

The state began providing Medicaid-like benefits to those 65 and over in 2020 and expanded it to those 42 and over last year.

During a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting on Tuesday, Healthcare and Family Services chief of staff Dana Kelly reportedly told lawmakers the state would save over $13 million by cutting out the ineligible recipients.  

MARYLAND SENATE PASSES BILL TO ALLOW ILLEGAL MIGRANTS BUY HEALTH INSURANCE

Medicaid

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services estimated at least 6,000 people will lose coverage come May 1. (iStock)

Last year, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzer’s budget included a $220 million estimate for the program for FY 2024. But The State Journal-Register reported at the time that a top state health official briefed the Senate’s appropriations committee and said the new estimate was a staggering $880 million above that. 

Officials said that both the cost of care and the number of those enrollees have dramatically exceeded their estimates. The state had previously estimated 98,500 enrollees, but said there would be over 120,000 signed up in FY24.

CALIFORNIA STATE HEALTH INSURANCE TO COVER SEX CHANGES FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Illinois state Capitol

The Illinois State Capitol on Jan. 6, 2022, in Springfield, Illinois. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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Pritzker ended up earmarking $550 million for the programs. This year, $440 million from the state’s general fund has been proposed for the program, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

The controversy comes amid a broader debate across the country about which benefits, if any, should be extended to those in the country illegally — and as the U.S. continues to face a historic migrant crisis at its border, which Republicans have said is driven in part by migrants being attracted by benefits programs that serve as a magnet.

Last week, the Maryland legislature passed a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to buy health insurance. If signed into law, the legislation would allow non-citizens access to purchase health care at the same rate as American citizens.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 



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