Illinois budget backlog is giving health care providers, patients a headache


Illinois budget backlog has undoubtedly caused grave problems for patients and healthcare providers. According to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the state of Illinois currently has a $5 billion backlog of unpaid group insurance as of June 30, 2017. The July 6 budget agreement has allotted funding to cover new insurance claims. However, unpaid bills continue to sit and accumulate interest costing the state to incur more debt. With all this in mind, Illinois is said to have about $15 billion of overdue bills. What does this debt mean to state employees? State employees are at the losing end. They are being required to pay insurance bills upfront because healthcare providers are unsure when they will receive payment from the state. Some are being billed by debt collection agencies. Worst of all, some health care providers refuse to accept insurance from state employees delaying much needed treatment. Health care providers are also at a disadvantaged and therefore cannot be blamed. Advocate Health Care for example, already the largest hospital network had to impose freeze hiring to address budget concerns due to the state’s insurance payment delays. Health care providers and physicians also feel the burden because they have to pay their employees. Continued insurance troubles may mean a possible income tax increase or a 1.2 percent more taken out of worker’s paychecks to cover government’s deficits. It may also cause difficulty in hiring new talent for state universities as affordable health insurance in an important incentive for state employees. Affordable health insurance is a serious issue that needs to be addressed because it is currently affecting a lot of stakeholders negatively.