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Providers Say Late Payments May Force Halt To Treating Medicaid Patients


More than two dozen health-care providers and insurance companies are telling a federal judge they may have to stop serving Medicaid patients because the State of Illinois is so late in paying Medicaid bills.

Twenty-five health-care organizations are asking Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago to make the state government reimburse them faster for seeing Medicaid patients. They say in sworn statements that, if Lefkow doesn’t agree, doctors may stop seeing Medicaid patients altogether.

Almost 400,000 low-income Illinoisans are on Medicaid under the Meridian Health Plan.

As of April 15, Meridian says the state owed it $557 million dollars in Medicaid payments. Some of those bills date back to October.

Meridian is owed so much money that it had to slow down reimbursements to the doctors or health care groups who are seeing the patients.

Aetna, the health insurance giant, says Illinois owes it $650 million for Medicaid bills going back to October.

Christian Community Health Center on Chicago’s south side says it’s owed more than a million dollars.

Lefkow has mandated that the state pay for Medicaid while there’s no budget, but these organizations say the money hasn’t been coming fast enough.

A spokesman for Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says $800 million recently went to these organizations -- but that only covers a third of what the state owes health care providers.