Illinois has recorded what almost certainly was an increase over last year in new signups and automatic renewals for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Most recent data from CMS shows that 388,179 Illinois residents enrolled in a plan through the most recent open enrollment 2015-2016 period. This number combined with the most recent release of information from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) indicating that there are now 626,248 Full Benefit ACA Medicaid Recipients across the state brings the total covered to 1,014,427 residents who are receiving life-saving benefits. Another report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) further shows Illinois was also among 8 states with statistically significant coverage gains among 18-64 year old residents. Between 2013 and 2015, the rate of uninsured among 18-64 year old Illinois residents decreased from 17.8% to the current rate of 10.6%. This 7.2% drop is one of the largest in the nation. The others are New York, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and California.
Asian Health Coalition and its navigator partner agencies played a key role in helping limited English-speaking communities to sign up for health coverage and lessons learned were among the many highlights shared by partners who met this week to discuss plans for future sustainability. In addition to the In-Person Counselor navigators (IPCs), Natalie Pacheco from Get Covered Illinois was also in attendance to listen to their personal experience in helping their community members. Key quotes from navigators are shared below
“We must understand continued outreach and education is needed to help reduced the rates of uninsured individuals and IPCs have been at the frontline of these efforts”
“This has truly been a rewarding experience. We have seen the population that we serve increasingly understand the importance of health insurance as well as grow more savvy in navigating health insurance plans.”
“As funding for these efforts is reduced by the government there is an increasing burden on CBOs to sustain enrollment and outreach by absorbing the costs and integrating these activities into their core services”