Illinois has been ordered by a U.S. judge to pay its Medicaid bills — to the tune of more than half a billion dollars per month.
Illinois must pay a staggering $586 million per month to Medicaid providers to ensure continued care for beneficiaries, a U.S. judge ruled on June 30. The ruling comes after the same judge ordered the state to comply with its Medicaid obligations earlier in June. That ruling did not specify any repayment amount.
The state has an unpaid backlog of more than $3 billion in Medicaid payments, Reuters reported. In an effort to pay providers sooner, the judge also ruled that Illinois must pay $2 billion during the current fiscal year, which began July 1.
Medicaid remains the largest single payer for skilled nursing services in the United States, covering 62% of all nursing home residents nationwide, according to a recent summary from the Kaiser Family Foundation. That number sits at 57% of all residents in Illinois, representing 29% of the Prairie State’s total Medicaid long-term care (LTC) spending — relatively low figures compared to states such as Alaska, where 79% of nursing home residents receive Medicaid coverage, or nearby Indiana, which devotes 57% of its Medicaid long-term care spending to skilled nursing care.
Illinois has failed to pay providers their Medicaid reimbursements on time as a result of a budget impasse that has gridlocked the state for more than two years. While providers may soon expect a payday, Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the ruling “takes the state’s finances from horrific to catastrophic.”
The judgment came just before state legislators made their most recent push to approve a state budget. State senators approved a budget on July 2, before it was vetoed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. The Senate then overrode the veto with a supermajority of votes, and the House followed suit on Thursday, giving the state its first budget in more than 700 days, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The state had only been allocating $160 million per month to the health care program, according to Reuters.
Written by Amy Baxter