Illinois Medicaid recipients at risk of losing coverage

A pandemic era law that helped uninsured Americans get healthcare coverage has come to an end.

Now, states have a little over a year to determine who still qualifies to be in the Medicaid program, which means millions will be left without coverage again.

This "Medicaid cliff" could leave up to 700,000 Illinoisans uninsured starting this week.

Illinois' Medicaid enrollment grew by about one-million enrollees during the pandemic. But extra federal funding expired last month.

The state now has up to 14 months to remove people who don't qualify.


Medicaid, of course, is a health insurance program for poor and disabled people that is jointly funded by the federal government and the states.

With more than 15 million Americans health coverage at stake, experts fear many could be wrongfully denied this benefit.

"Many people will be disenrolled, even though they remain eligible simply because they face administrative barriers with completing the renewal process. Maybe they don't get the notice in the mail. Maybe they get it, but it's not in a language they understand," said Jennifer Tolbert, Director of State Health Reform, Kaiser Family Foundation.

So, what can recipients expect?

First, be on the lookout for your renewal notice. You will have at least 30 days to respond to the request.

Each state will have a slightly different process, but in general they will want updates on things like income, address, and number of dependents.

The information will come through the regular channels, by mail, phone, email or by website for individuals who have set up online Medicaid accounts.

In Illinois, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services also says it is working to those affected find health insurance elsewhere.