Illinois coverage expansion allows older residents to qualify for coverage, regardless of immigration status

Nick Moran - Print  | 

An Illinois budget expansion is enabling nearly 11,000 seniors to gain Medicaid-like coverage regardless of their immigration status. 

The approved expansion loops in impoverished adult immigrants between 55 and 64 years old for the program, which would provide them with benefits similar to what they would receive if they were eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, according to an Aug. 24 Chicago Tribune report. 

The expansion is poised to go into effect in May 2022. 

Eligible enrollees must be below the federal poverty line, which means the expansion targets immigrants who disproportionately work low-income, essential jobs, according to the report. Low income and a lack of healthcare access primarily leaves them in the blind spot of government programs and private insurance.

While Illinois was the first state to create a program that provided healthcare coverage to immigrants over the age of 65 living in the country without legal permission, other states, such as California and Oregon, have since implemented similar programs.

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