Illinois is hiring hundreds of frontline workers to resolve major delays of its Medicaid application and renewal processes.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which oversee Medicaid, and the Illinois Department of Human Services are working together to fill the vacancies, the departments said in a statement today. The first positions are expected to be filled this week.
The Medicaid redetermination process, which reviews eligibility for the state’s nearly 3 million Medicaid beneficiaries, can lead to lapses in coverage. Such gaps are hard on patients, especially those managing chronic conditions, and health systems that don’t get reimbursed for medical services when claims are denied by health plans.
Backlogs, which have increased in recent years, are considered delays of 45 days or more for initial applications and 60 days or more for renewals, the statement says.
The initiative is part of a larger “aggressive cross-agency effort” that has already made a dent in unprocessed Medicaid applications and renewals, and eliminated the backlog of newborns being added to their mothers’ health plans, according to the statement. The effort includes updating policies, creating progress reports and more.
“These problems built up through a lack of resources and prioritization, and it is long past time for them to be resolved,” Secretary of IDHS Grace Hou said in the statement. “Working together, we are moving quickly to ensure people get the care they deserve.”
A recently passed a bipartisan Medicaid reform package also aims to reduce the backlogs.