For Illinoisans currently looking for health benefits, there are many options available while provisions of the Affordable Care Act are still being rolled out:
Adults with Pre-Existing Conditions
Effective September 1st of 2010, Illinois established a pool for people who are uninsured because they have a previous medical problem that made it difficult for them to obtain insurance. This is called the Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (IPXP) and enrollment information is available on the IPXP website
. Since its inception, the IPXP has provided coverage for over 2,000 Illinois residents who previously found it difficult to obtain health insurance.
The Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan
is an existing state health benefits program for certain uninsurable Illinois residents. CHIP requires participants to pay partial premiums. If you have no insurance at all, you may be able to receive care on a sliding scale basis at a neighborhood health center near you. For information on the location of these health centers, go to the Illinois Primary Care Association website
Families with Children
If you have children under the age of 18, you may qualify for the Family Care
or All Kids
programs associated with Medicaid, even if your income is too high for traditional Medicaid. This might require you to pay a premium.
Small Business Owners
Small business owners in Illinois have struggled for years with unpredictable and unreasonable premium increases. Health reform will protect small businesses against dramatic premium increases, reduce premium costs immediately through tax credits, and ensure better value for the hard-earned premium dollars paid by small businesses and their employees. More information on the benefits for small businesses, including a video from a small business owner in Chicago, is available here
Effective June 1, 2009, all individual and group health insurance and HMO contracts must abide by the provisions of Public Act 95-0958 (215 ILCS 356z.12; the “Young Adult Dependent Coverage Law”), a new Illinois law giving parents with insurance policies that cover dependents the right to elect coverage for qualifying dependents up to age 26 and up to age 30 for military veteran dependents. For more information about this new law, and how it interacts with existing state law in Illinois, please visit the Department of Insurance website
Medicare provides health insurance coverage for individuals over the age of 65. Some individuals under 65 are eligible, including those with disabilities. Individuals can apply for Medicare through the Social Security Administration
. The Illinois Department of Insurance runs an assistance program for Medicare Beneficiaries called the Senior Health Insurance Program
. In 2011, Medicare will began covering preventive services like cancer and diabetes screenings without charging the Part B coinsurance or deductible. Free annual wellness exams are also covered.
Through the Affordable Care Act, some seniors paying for prescription drugs became eligible for a rebate check of $250 to help pay for the cost of prescriptions. Over the next 10 years, the new health care reform will gradually reduce the “donut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage, saving many seniors thousands of dollars each year.
** Important Note for Medicare Beneficiaries: Protecting your personal information, including your bank information and Social Security Number, is very important. More information on reducing Medicare fraud is available here.
Uninsured Ombudsman Program
The Uninsured Ombudsman Program, run by the Department of Insurance, currently offers Illinois consumers with no health insurance, those about to lose health insurance, or those who can't afford health insurance assistance through explaining their rights and helping individuals shop for health insurance. For more information on this program, please visit the website.