Illinois is hiring hundreds of frontline workers to resolve major delays of its Medicaid application and renewal processes.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which oversee Medicaid, and the Illinois Department of Human Services are working together to fill the vacancies, the departments said in a statement today. The first positions [were] expected to be filled [last] week.
The Medicaid redetermination process, which reviews eligibility for the state’s nearly 3 million Medicaid beneficiaries, can lead to lapses in coverage. Such gaps are hard on patients, especially those managing chronic conditions, and health systems that don’t get reimbursed for medical services when claims are denied by health plans.
Backlogs, which have increased in recent years, are considered delays of 45 days or more for initial applications and 60 days or more for renewals, the statement says.
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The state of Illinois is expected to hire more than 300 training and technical staff members in an attempt to bring down a backlog of unprocessed Medicaid applications.
The General Assembly also approved a bill this spring aimed at addressing problems with the Medicaid program. Those include a high denial rate cited by providers and the application processing backlog – which has reached over 100,000.
State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, the bill’s sponsor, said, “The federal government actually has outstanding problems with the state, and the state’s at risk of losing some dollars from the federal government because of the long, long backlog,” she said.
Applications are going unprocessed now for long periods, which is now in violation of federal rules. Many who do have the insurance for lower income individuals lose it because of problems with the renewal process. That’s according to Dan Rabbitt, a health polucy expert with the the Heartland Alliance.