health care providers

More than two dozen health care providers and insurance companies are telling a federal judge in Chicago they may have to stop serving some poor patients. That’s because the State of Illinois is so late in paying Medicaid bills due to the budget impasse. Twenty-five health care organizations are asking a federal judge to make the state government reimburse them faster for seeing Medicaid patients. They say if the judge doesn’t agree, then doctors may stop seeing Medicaid patients altogether.

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says approximately 20 percent of his patients are state workers. Because Illinois is still running with no budget, the state has not been paying its employees’ health bills on time — and the delays are growing.

Illinois has received a $1.3 million federal grant aimed at enforcing laws that require health insurance companies to cover mental health and addiction treatment. The Illinois Department of Insurance says a portion of the grant will strengthen its data tracking and consumer complaint analysis. The grant will support education for consumers on how they can appeal decisions made by health insurers.

New legislation proposed in Illinois would require health care providers who deny care based on religious beliefs to provide patients with information about where to find treatment.

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.