In 2010, a study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that over 95% of Illinois’ kids had insurance coverage, making Illinois a state with one of the lowest rates of uninsured children in the nation. Much of this success can be attributed to the All Kids health insurance program, which provides for affordable, comprehensive health insurance for all Illinois children (up to age 19) who need coverage, regardless of family income or immigration status. Higher-income families pay monthly premiums ranging from $15 - $300/child, along with co-pays for doctor visits and other health care services.
Unfortunately, starting this Friday July 1st, All Kids will only allow for “some kids” to qualify for coverage. Legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor in January places an income cap on the program at the start of July, effectively cutting off eligibility at 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This is equivalent to about $5,500/month or $66,000/year for a family of four.
Children enrolled in All Kids at or above 300% FPL by June 30th, 2011 are allowed to continue All Kids coverage for up to 12 months until July 1st, 2012, when NO children above 300% FPL will be allowed to continue their coverage.
While the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services estimates that fewer than 4,000 children are enrolled in All Kids above the income cap, it’s likely that many of these families enrolled their children in All Kids because private insurance was unaffordable or inaccessible or because coverage options were insufficient for their child’s health care needs.
So where does this leave families who will no longer be able to qualify for All Kids?
Families can pursue employer-based insurance or insurance on the individual market. The Affordable Care Act included a provision, effective September 23, 2010, that no longer allows insurance companies to deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
Some children may be eligible for the Illinois Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (IPXP) if they have a pre-existing condition and have been uninsured for at least six months. The Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan may also be an option for some families.
However, these options may be unaffordable or inaccessible to many families. If this is the case for you or for a family you know, the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition is interested in hearing your story. These stories can help us with advocacy efforts to persuade legislators to revise the changes to All Kids in upcoming legislative sessions. Contact Kathy Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 312-491-8161 x 24.
Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition