(ConservativeFreePress.com) – An Illinois healthcare program that would provide coverage to non-citizens is going to end up costing $1.1 billion in the upcoming year for the state. This increase, which was revealed by officials this week, is huge when compared to the $220 million that was initially planned for this program.
Under this program, state-funded health care would be available to noncitizens who are 42 or older. These are the people who would have been able to benefit from Medicaid if they had a different citizenship status. The new program would apply to both illegal immigrants, as well as those who are legally in the country on a green card for less than five years.
Medicaid-like benefits were first introduced by the state for those who were 65+ in 2020, were then expanded to those over 42 years old last year.
Democratic Governor JB Pritzer’s budget speculated that $220 million would be used for the program within the upcoming fiscal year. However, the State Journal-Register reports that according to an expert health official who briefed the Senate’s committee, the new and rough estimate has been expanded to around $1.1 billion, which is an $880 million increase from the original.
The outlet further reported that the current-fiscal year estimate was also at $220 million, but that the program has already cost more than $400 million so far, and that there are still two months remaining until the end of the 2023 fiscal year.
Officials have argued that both the number of people enrolled and the costs of healthcare have been far higher than the estimated amount. Previously, the state had estimated 98,500 enrollees, but now that estimate has been increased to over 120,000 for FY24.
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