IL to make Medicaid modifications without CMS approval

Illinois is moving forward with a plan to modify enrollment requirements for its Medicaid program without federal approval. Although several other states are clamoring to make changes in their Medicaid programs, it remains unclear whether they will follow suit, Stateline Health News and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle report.

Illinois, which faces huge budget deficits and needs to cut $2 billion from its Medicaid program, will begin on March 1 using new electronic checks to verify residency and income of Medicaid recipients. The intent is to cut the Medicaid rolls and save the state about $1 million.

State officials had been in negotiations with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for about a year before implementing the changes. Originally, Illinois had passed a law requiring Medicaid enrollees to annually verify their income. CMS had rejected the proposal, saying it would violate federal laws about keeping eligibility requirements uniform. This led to the state making the new proposal to check income eligibility through electronic searches of state and federal records. That proposal was based on suggestions provided by CMS, but again was rejected.

Such due diligence has been supported by governors of other states, most notably Paul LePage of Maine and Rick Scott of Florida, both Republicans (Illinois' Gov. Pat Quinn is a Democrat). Both states have had proposals to introduce greater income scrutiny initially rejected by the CMS.

To learn more:
- read the Stateline Health News article
- here's the Daily Chronicle article