Illinois meeting health care sign-up goal

Mar 25, 2014

With one week left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, Illinois' enrollment numbers are on track to meet their goals. But many newly covered Illinoisans aren't actually buying private insurance.

About 114,000 people in Illinois have bought insurance under Obamacare. But 200,000 more have been signed up for Medicaid, the state's healthcare program for the poor.

Although the number of Medicaid enrollees is larger than the pool of people who've bought insurance, officials say they're not worried. Brian Gorman, with Get Covered Illinois, says the state on target to meet its goal of 143,000 people buying coverage off the exchange. He basically says the rest is just gravy.

"Some folks may be eligible for Medicaid. And other individuals may be eligible for marketplace with subsidies. We make no differentiation. Coverage is coverage."

Many of these enrollees are childless adults, who are newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

A number of Republicans in the General Assembly, however, worry that Medicaid has already gotten too big and want to roll it back. Though Medicaid is Illinois' largest single expense, the Federal government is paying for the initial expansion in full.