In an effort to save money and improve the quality of care, Illinois recently cut the number of private insurers that offer coverage through the Medicaid managed care program from 12 to seven.
The change affects more than 500,000 Illinois residents insured through Medicaid - the joint state-federal program that provides coverage for low-income, elderly and disabled people.
Now is the time to enroll in a new plan that will take effect on April 1, says Claudia Lennhoff with the Champaign County Health Care Consumers.
Medicaid patients who need to take action will receive a letter from the state soon if they haven’t already. The letter will include information about available health plans and enrollment deadlines.
Lennhoff says it’s important to choose a plan that covers your preferred provider. But since the list of providers on the health plans’ websites may not be up to date, the best bet is to call and ask which Medicaid managed care plans they take.
She says it’s also important to check the prescription drug benefits, "because not all plans are the same, they don’t always cover the same prescriptions. Or they don’t cover them at the same level of co-pay.”
Failure to enroll by the assigned deadline could result in getting auto-enrolled in a plan that may or may not cover your preferred providers. Everyone gets one chance to switch plans within the first 90 days before they get locked in for the year.
Lennhoff says anyone with questions can contact her organization for help.
You can find a link to commonly asked questions about the Medicaid managed care program here.