As reviews continue, number covered by medicaid declines

Early results of a study of Illinois' Medicaid rolls show many recipients don't actually qualify. As part of a broad overhaul of Medicaid, the state's health care program for the poor, Illinois hired a company, Maximus, to verify recipients' eligibility. 

Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Julie Hamos says since 2013 began, Maximus has reviewed 20 thousand individual cases.   And found that 13 thousand of those individuals do not actually qualify to be on Medicaid. 

That amounts to 65-percent.  Hamos says she expects number to go down, as Maximus reviews more cases.

“We organized the queue in a way that they  could look at problem cases first. That will not continue at that level,” says Hamos.

Hamos says she hopes the review will be done by the end of the year. The study is only a recommendation - Hamos says the Department of Human Services will make the final decision about who will and won't be covered by Medicaid. Hamos says it's too early to know how much money Illinois could save by potentially kicking thousands off the Medicaid rolls. But at the same time, Hamos says as Illinois implements the federal Affordable Care Act, lawmakers need to prepare to bring another 300-thousand people on to Medicaid.