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In early 2020, a national public health emergency was declared due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the declaration, states received authority to implement health-related flexibilities. Illinois expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act and established continuous coverage and enrollment. Due to the expansion and other factors—including insurance losses associated with job losses—the number of Illinoisans enrolled in Medicaid increased from 2.9 million in 2020 to 3.9 million in 2023.
The Public Health Emergency is now ending, and all Medicaid recipients must reenroll in Medicaid or transfer to an alternative source of coverage. A staggering number of those affected are unaware of the change and among the most vulnerable are those with limited English proficiency and/or those who have moved residences within the past three years—and now have an out-of-date address registered with the state. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Medicaid recipients in Illinois may lose coverage as well as access to public benefits made available to those with Medicaid.
Several VNA grantee partners, however, are working hard to ensure that all Illinoisans are aware of this upcoming change and have the education and tools needed to renew their coverage. In addition to many clinics and community-based organizations assisting individual clients with the process, the following grantee partners are tackling the problem in a variety of creative ways:
Shriver Center on Poverty Law (Shriver Center) advocates for healthcare coverage for all Illinoisans as part of its overall goal to build a future free from poverty and racism, where everyone has equal power under the law. Shriver Center’s two core Medicaid redetermination resources include:
Healthy Illinois Campaign is working to expand healthcare coverage for low-income adults ages 19 to 41 through the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) program and increase the types of services covered through the Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) program. Healthy Illinois Campaign partners with the state and local agencies to provide public education and outreach, share resources with immigrant communities, and train resident leaders and providers about upcoming healthcare changes.
Healthy Illinois Campaign’s website includes a list of Medicaid Qualifiers, details about where and how to enroll, and helpful resources available in English, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, and Chinese.
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is partnering with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services (DHS) to develop culturally appropriate information on Medicaid redetermination, ensuring immigrant communities understand their rights and responsibilities.
In addition to helpful Medicaid resources and FAQs on the ICIRR website, ICIRR operates a 24/7 Family Support Network hotline at 1-855-435-7693, where callers can press #5 to learn about healthcare coverage options, apply for hospital financial assistance, find free clinics, and more. Hotline callers can request support in English, Spanish, Korean, or Polish.
At VNA Foundation we believe healthcare is a human right, and that healthcare coverage should be the basic standard rather than a privilege. We are grateful for our grantee partners who are leading this critical work to ensure everyone living in Illinois—no matter their income levels, zip codes, native languages, or countries of origin—have access to affordable and high-quality healthcare. It is up to all of us to spread awareness about Medicaid redetermination, the process to reenroll, and the helpful resources that exist.
Important dates to keep in mind:
Steps to renew Medicaid coverage:
For more information about Medicaid redetermination, visit: