CHICAGO — Today, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced a pause in enrollment for the State’s Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) program. Healthy Illinois Campaign Director Tovia Siegel released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“While expected, today’s announcement is still a disappointing step backwards from the collective progress our state has made around health care access. The HBIS program provides vital, lifesaving health care services to thousands of vulnerable older adults across Illinois. After a series of other significant program changes in the past year, pausing enrollment in the HBIS program with short notice will not only limit access to critical health care services, but it will also significantly diminish the state’s ability to care for its elderly residents. We strongly encourage seniors who may qualify for the HBIS program to enroll immediately before the Nov. 6 cutoff date.”

“We urge HFS and the Pritzker administration to continue to work with advocates and community organizations to find fiscally responsible solutions to protect, preserve and expand the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) and HBIS programs. Our state leaders have repeatedly said that health care is a human right that should be accessible for all Illinois residents, and we will continue to fight to make that a reality.”

ABOUT THE HBIS PROGRAM: 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 operates the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program (HBIA), which provides similar coverage for individuals aged 42 to 64. These programs are generally utilized by long term undocumented residents in Illinois. Most asylum seekers qualify for other health coverage programs.

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

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