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Pritzker announces 20 percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for abortion providers

Thursday, Aug 4, 2022

* Press release…

–Today Governor Pritzker announced an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for abortion services and a new expansion of Title X funding through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for family planning and reproductive health service providers across the state. The 20% Medicaid reimbursement rate increase will give additional resources to providers facing new burdens in the wake of increased restrictions on reproductive care in surrounding states. The Governor also eliminated a requirement for providers to receive a Medicare denial before requesting Medicaid payment, expanding provider options for patients receiving both Medicare and Medicaid.

“Illinois abortion providers have been working overtime since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “They need support as they take on this new burden on the frontlines of this fight. Supporting them with reimbursement increases allows them to focus on their important work without worrying about rising costs of supplies and services.”

The rate increase, which goes into effect September 1, allow abortion providers to recoup more costs and enable providers and clinics to provide more care without financial strain. The 20% increase in reimbursement will cost around $3 million annually. The elimination of the Medicare denial requirement will allow those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, many of whom are people with disabilities, to access these services without going through a layered, time-consuming denial process.

Medicaid covers abortion services in Illinois, one of only 16 states to do so, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services requires Managed Care Organizations to include information about abortion service coverage in Medicaid member handbooks and to be able to answer questions about abortion service coverage.

There are currently 98 family planning clinics across the state offering Title X supported services, serving over 150,000 patients in the last two years. The new $2 million investment announced today by the Governor will expand the number of providers offering Title X-funded services to the client base of these clinics, 80% of whom are below the federal poverty line. Providers can apply for grant funding to expand the statewide network of clinics providing Title X funded reproductive health care including HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screening, STD and pregnancy testing, infertility counseling, and other family planning services and counseling.

Title X was established in 1970 to provide federal support for family planning services for low-income populations. The $2 million in funds would be in addition to $5.4 million in federal HHS funding and an existing $5.8 million in state funds, for a total budget of $13.2 million.

The state rejoined the federal Title X program earlier in 2022 after a repeal of a Trump administration law banning recipients of Title X funds from referring patients to abortion providers or counseling patients on abortion services. Title X funds cannot be used for providing abortion care. During the three years the state declined to participate, the gap in funding was filled using the state’s General Revenue Fund.

“As women’s reproductive rights are being decimated across this nation, this additional Title X Family Planning Program funding is critical in providing voluntary comprehensive family planning services to low-income individuals of reproductive age,” said State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “While we are devastated each time we turn on the news and see yet another state taking away the reproductive rights of women, Illinois continues to be clear that we uphold choice and access to reproductive health care.”

“Once again, Illinois is proving itself a standout state in the nation for supporting reproductive health,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “Not only that, we are making sure equity is at the forefront of our policies—increasing Medicaid rates for services will ensure that people can access abortions and make the best decisions for their own bodies.”

“Making reproductive health care accessible and affordable, particularly to women in vulnerable communities, is of the utmost importance as these rights are being stripped away at the federal level,” said State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “Today’s investment upholds Illinois’ position as a leader on preserving women’s rights and will expand services to underserved communities throughout the state.”

“Without meaningful access, we can’t describe something as a right. The announcement this week improving access for patients without the financial means to access abortion care is critically important. I am so proud to work with Governor Pritzker and our pro-choice majority in Illinois to protect and increase access to reproductive health services both for residents and inbound patients from restrictive states,” said State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

“Expanding access to reproductive care in our state is more essential now than ever,” said State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago). “At a time when women’s rights are under attack at the national level, I am proud that Illinois is taking the lead in expanding rights and access to care here.”

“As our neighboring states restrict bodily autonomy and personal freedom, Illinois continues to protect abortion rights,” said State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago). “The funds announced today will help make sure our abortion providers have the capacity to provide this vital medical care to all Illinoisans and to those coming to our state seeking care.”

“A woman’s right to exercise control over her own body should never be restricted by her income,” said State Representative Theresa Mah (D-Chicago). “Threats to abortion access are growing, and while we resist those threats, we must also continue to remove any existing obstacles to the right to choose in Illinois. Increasing financial support for women who want an abortion will remove a financial hurdle that many women have had to clear in the past.”

“This summer’s decision by an extremist Supreme Court underscores the need for Illinois to be the Midwest’s leader on the issue of reproductive health,” said State Representative Sonya Harper (D-Chicago). “We have to be proactive in directing resources to those who need help the most right now. By working to expand our state’s provider network, we’re going to be able to reach more residents and will save lives.”

“Now that there is no longer a federal guarantee of reproductive freedom, state-level policy is more important than ever,” said State Representative Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago). “That’s why the steps being taken today by Governor Pritzker and the Department of Public Health are so great. More Medicaid funds for reproductive healthcare, elimination of red tape, and additional funding to increase the number of providers statewide are all in keeping with our post-Roe commitment to ensuring that every person who may become pregnant has access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services.”

* ACLU of Illinois…

Abortion remains safe and legal in Illinois. As states surrounding Illinois continue to place cruel bans on abortion care, we applaud Governor Pritzker’s decision to increase resources directed towards essential reproductive healthcare. Increased resources means increased access. It is especially hopeful to see a much needed increase in the reimbursement rate provided by the Illinois Medicaid system for those providing abortion care during this critical time.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Vote Quimby - Thursday, Aug 4, 22 @ 1:26 pm:

    The $3 million cost is well worth it. I fear for the providers in the future.

  2. - Froganon - Thursday, Aug 4, 22 @ 1:49 pm:

    This will be money well spent. It is outstanding work on the part of Gov. Pritzker and the Dems in the GA. They are listening to voters and acting on what the majority of voters want.

  3. - OG - Thursday, Aug 4, 22 @ 1:50 pm:

    Which states and what are the cruel restrictions

  4. - Almost retired - Thursday, Aug 4, 22 @ 2:36 pm:

    My disabled adult son is on Illinois Medicaid in the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. Reimbursement rates from Medicaid do not cover costs of some needed services in this waiver. Mental Health Providers have consistently stated that their Medicaid reimbursement rates do not cover their expenses and limit their ability to perform their responsibilities to their best. 20% increase for the thousands who have suffered brain injury or a 20% increase for mental health services is needed and would significantly improve quality of care. Additionally, this bypasses the regular rigor involved in increasing Medicaid reinbursement. I am not oppose to abortion and support a woman’s right to determine her own health care. I find this a potentially disappointing very political decision and neglects thousands of others who need medicaid for their health services and just to survive. To me this is a statement which it is of this administrations priorities. I know this might not be a popular comment but it is a needed comment.

  5. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 4, 22 @ 2:43 pm:

    I have to agree with Almost Retired.This increase needs to be applied to many other areas that have a positive impact on health care.

  6. - Lelie K - Thursday, Aug 4, 22 @ 10:19 pm:

    I am catching up late on the blog and am not sure who will read this, but wanted to say that I also agree with Almost Retired. I am firmly pro-choice and don’t disagree with the idea of increased reimbursement in that area. But I also know from personal family experience that it can be difficult to find medical professionals willing to treat people with disabilities at all, and low reimbursement rates can make it even more difficult.

  7. - chichi55 - Friday, Aug 5, 22 @ 8:54 am:

    Illinois tax payers should never have been forced to pay for someone else’s abortion.

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