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  4. November 2012

November 2012 


Greetings from HFS Director Julie Hamos

Welcome to another periodic edition of HFS E-news to keep you updated on program changes. To register for future editions, please visit HFS E-news Online Registration or download for others who might be interested by visiting:

If you are a Medicaid client, this newsletter is not the official notification of any changes that may impact you, and you do not have to respond in any way. This is general information for the public.

Thank you,

Julie Hamos

Care Coordination Update

We have released our proposed Care Coordination Roll-Out Plan for the next two years, from January 2013-January 2015. This should be considered a draft work-in-progress, but we wanted to share our current thinking on how we will meet the Illinois state law requirement that at least 50% of Medicaid clients will be enrolled in care coordination by January 2015. View the Care Coordination Roll-Out Plan to read more about the plan and summary.

Earlier this month, HFS announced the eight health plans that were chosen to partner with the state in the Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative (MMAI), a groundbreaking joint effort with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under which Illinois is aiming to be one of the first states in the nation to reform the way care is delivered to clients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid services (known as “dual eligible”). This initiative is subject to final federal approval, and is expected to begin October 2013.

The following are the six managed care organizations to serve MMAI clients in the Greater Chicago region: Aetna Better Health, IlliniCare Health Plan (Centene), Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, HealthSpring of Tennessee d/b/a HealthSpring of Illinois, Humana, and Health Care Service Corporation d/b/a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois. MMAI clients in the Central Illinois region (consisting of Knox, Peoria, Tazewell, McLean, Logan, DeWitt, Sangamon, Macon, Christian, Piatt, Champaign, Vermilion, Ford, Menard, and Stark counties) will be served by Molina Healthcare of Illinois and Health Alliance.  

Affordable Care Act Implementation

It is estimated that Illinois has approximately 1.1 million people without health insurance. About 50% of them will be able to buy health insurance on the Health Insurance Exchange, and based on their income, individuals will qualify for tax subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. Illinois will have an Exchange, operating as a state-federal partnership the first year. If the legislature adopts authorizing legislation, it will become a state exchange; if not, the federal government will continue to operate it. Enrollment on the Exchange will open on October 1, 2013, with plans effective on January 1, 2014. For more information on the Exchange, view the Governor’s Health Care Reform Implementation Council Web site.

The other 50% of uninsured citizens will qualify for Medicaid, if the legislature adopts authorizing legislation.  Today, there is a gap in Medicaid coverage: adults without dependent children, no matter how poor, are not eligible for Medicaid. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal government is offering generous federal matching funds to the states to cover this newly eligible population: 100% reimbursement for the first three years then phased down to 90% by 2020. 

Newly introduced legislation, House Bill 6253, will take advantage of the ACA to provide healthcare under Medicaid to about 342,000 low-income Illinois citizens who are currently uninsured (the remaining 168,000 citizens currently uninsured, are already eligible for Medicaid but have not enrolled yet). For a copy of the legislation, fact sheet and list of supporters. If your organization is serving people without health insurance – whether a hospital, clinic, public health department, homeless shelter, social service organization and more – you should be interested in HB 6253. We hope you will join the growing list of supporters and urge your own legislators to support HB 6253. If you would like your organization added as a supporter, please e-mail Selma D’Souza the HFS Legislative Director.

Illinois’ Public Pension Squeeze

We strongly urge you to get involved with the most urgent issue facing our great state. It is the public pension squeeze, and it impacts the future of our workers, taxpayers and our children. Please check out “This is My Illinois: Thanks in Advance” at and go to ThisIsMyIllinois on Facebook.

This public information initiative has broken down the pension squeeze into clear, simple, language that explains the problem with examples that everyone can relate to. And here, you can learn how to help raise awareness and get involved. Before we can tackle the pension problem, we think it is critical for everyone to understand its nature, and the magnitude of its impact. We need to raise awareness and show people how the problem affects them. It is a complicated subject, but you do not have to be an accountant to understand the issues, nor do you need to be a politician in order to change the system for the better. 

This problem will not go away. And it is one of those problems where, the longer we wait to solve it, the bigger the problem grows, and our challenge becomes even more difficult. All of us have a responsibility to make our government work for the people of Illinois - for ourselves, our neighbors and our children and grandchildren. For our state, most of us agree this means living within our means, adequately funding public programs that protect our most vulnerable citizens, investing in our future to provide every generation the opportunity to succeed, and to ensure that those who rely on public pensions have a secure retirement.

Illinois’ pension problem will not solve itself. We must act. With your help, we can rise to the occasion and solve this problem.  We will solve this problem. Please go to “This is My Illinois: Thanks in Advance and go to ThisIsMyIllinois on Facebook.

Please feel free to ask questions or share comments by e-mailing: