Chicago — Today, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will implement co-payments and co-insurance for some nonemergency services for enrollees in the State’s Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) programs. Yesterday, HFS announced it would no longer go forward with the implementation of co-pays for emergency services. Healthy Illinois Campaign Director Tovia Siegel released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Healthy Illinois Campaign is pleased the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced they will no longer be instituting co-pays for some emergency room visits. This decision will keep Illinoisans safer and allow them to seek the healthcare they need in emergencies. 

“However, the two co-payments that will go into effect on February 1 will place a significant burden on both providers and patients, limiting access to healthcare for Illinois’ immigrant community. We urge the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Managed Care Organizations to reconsider implementing these charges, which will generate a relatively small amount of money but can be the difference between life and death for low-income Illinoisans. 

“Healthy Illinois Campaign stands ready to work with HFS and the Governor’s Office to find fiscally responsible and sustainable ways to ensure equitable access to health care for the  state’s lowest-income residents.”

ABOUT THE HBIA and HBIS PROGRAMS: Created in 2020, the HBIS program provides health care coverage to individuals aged 65 and older who would be eligible for Medicaid but for their immigration status. HFS also regulates the HBIA program, which provides similar coverage for individuals aged 42 to 64. These programs are primarily utilized by long term undocumented residents and legal permanent residents of less than five years. Generally, asylum seekers do not qualify for HBIA or HBIS, but may qualify for other health coverage programs from the state or federal government.

ABOUT HEALTHY ILLINOIS: The Healthy Illinois Campaign is a statewide coalition that has a diverse cross-section of immigrant and healthcare advocates including grassroots community organizations, healthcare providers, and policy organizations. We are united by a common goal of making quality, affordable healthcare coverage accessible to all people in Illinois, regardless of immigration status.

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