The Illinois Legislature has approved a plan to allow a temporary extension to the insurance program that provides healthcare benefits to the state’s employees and retirees. Lawmakers have been debating the necessity of the program, going so far as to consider it’s burden on the state’s finances a weight too heavy for the state to bear.
However, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability approved of a plan during an emergency session of the Legislature. The plan will give the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services the authority to negotiate temporary contracts for the 434,000 covered under the existing insurance program.
Officials from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will be looking to obtain short-term contracts from four of the state’s insurers. HealthLink, Personal Care, Health Alliance and Humana will be offering their services.
Julie Hamos, director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, says that state employees should be relieved over the news as it means there will be no break in their insurance coverage. Hamos adds that the majority of employees will be able to keep their current policies. Those looking to make changes to their plans will have until July 1st to do so.
The fate of Illinois’ insurance program is still under debate, but it is likely the program will be terminated by the end of this year. The Legislature has already made moves toward this end by limiting the amount of funding the program receive.