News Local/State

Illinois Medicaid Recipients Surge As Adults Find They’re Eligible


Illinois officials are dealing with a surge of new patients in the Medicaid program. It's part of last month's rush of people seeking coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

For the first time, low-income adults without children are eligible for government health coverage.

In Illinois, officials expect that'll mean 350,000 new people in Medicaid. And that's not all.

Julie Hamos, director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, said the news reports and advertising and community outreach around the Obamacare deadline led to a separate spike.

"We have 80,000 more than the usual enrollment of people who already were eligible, they just didn't sign up," Hamos said. "But because of that activity in the communities, now they're signing up."

The influx of new patients comes as Illinois is trying to cut costs by reducing Medicaid coverage in a range of areas, like adult dental care.

Illinois is also more aggressively trying to remove ineligible people from the system.