The department in charge of state employee benefits says Illinois is more than a billion dollars behind on its health insurance payments. IPR’S Chris Slaby reports.
Doctors have to wait as long as a year after they provide health care to a state worker before they're reimbursed by the state. Marcia Armstrong is a liaison between the state's Central Management Services and the Illinois legislature. She says the insurance backlog totals one-point-six billion dollars now -- and could jump another 200-million by the summer.
“We can pay group insurance claims from any fiscal year. So we have the ability to pay those old claims out of future appropriations.”
But that means PAST obligations are taking up money meant to pay FUTURE bills. Armstrong points out that the longer Illinois takes to pay health care providers ... the more it's costing the state. Illinois is charged interest when it takes longer than 90 days to pay a bill. Some medical providers have required state employees pay upfront for healthcare -- then it's the patient waiting to get reimbursed by the state.