Hit with two lawsuits, Legislature finally takes on nursing home Medicaid delays

Share this content:

A bill giving provisional eligibility to patients who wait more than 45 days to find out their Medicaid status is close to approval in Illinois.

The legislation follows on the heels of two related lawsuits this year, one certified as a class for seniors and would-be nursing home residents who waited so long for their care to be covered that they've claimed permanent injury.

The second case, brought last month, seeks to enforce an existing consent decree that was supposed to make Illinois determine eligibility within federal timelines and offer automatic, temporary medical assistance to anyone whose application takes too long.

Attorneys for thousands of low-income argue the state is violating both federal law and the decree by denying “thousands” of residents access to health coverage.

The state currently has 4,500 long-term care Medicaid applications pending over 90 day, according to the RiverBender.com.

State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) co-sponsored the legislation, telling the website it was because of constituent complaints.

“The failure of the state to process these applications in a timely fashion has caused unnecessary hardship on patients and families that rely on nursing homes to take care of their loved ones,” Haine said. “This legislation will force these agencies to work together on behalf of these citizens and their family members.”

The bill, set to go into effect immediately, passed both chambers of the General Assembly on May 31, and is now in the hands of the governor.