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AFC issues FOIA request to support Medicaid recipients

August 8, 2018

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UPDATE 9/7/2018: The response we received from both departments failed to directly answer the questions presented to them, calling the request “overly time consuming and unduly burdensome”.

In response to this, AFC has made a request to the Illinois attorney general's Office of Public Access Counselor to determine whether DHS and HFS violated FOIA in their responses to AFC’s recent FOIA request. The responses were, in our opinion, incomplete and the public’s interest in the agencies’ responses is of grave importance. We hope the public access counselor will compel the agencies to respond to our FOIA fully and promptly.

Since the expansion of eligibility in 2013, Medicaid has become the number one provider of health insurance for people living with HIV (PLWH) in Illinois. 

If PLWH and those living with other chronic illnesses are being kicked off of Medicaid by this process, we need to know why, and how large of an impact this creates in the state.

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Thousands of low-income, vulnerable Illinoisans are being incorrectly and wrongfully terminated from Medicaid because of computer glitches, but Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration refuses to share accurate and comprehensive data on how big the problem is. 


Today, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) took a step to remedy this withholding of rightfully public information by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to both the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Department of Human Services (DHS). The FOIA seeks information on Medicaid auto-terminations in the Integrated Eligibility System (IES) computer system. 

In June, AFC and nearly 100 organizations sent a letter to HFS and DHS asking them to suspend their auto-termination process. This letter was due to a significant increase of inappropriate terminations by IES of eligible individuals and families. Unfortunately, since the rollout of the new computer system, AFC and our partners have collectively seen thousands of cases where individuals lose benefits at redetermination through error. These erroneous terminations of eligible people who have followed reapplication guidelines are causing life-threatening disruption in their health coverage.

"Medicaid coverage is the foundation to the health and well-being of one in four Illinois residents. Nearly two out of three people living with HIV are covered by Medicaid, making it the largest payer of HIV care in Illinois," says John Peller, CEO/President of AFC. "The services Medicaid provides are critical, and any loss of coverage can destabilize the health of those who depend on the program for care. We and our partners will fiercely safeguard the integrity of the program that millions rely on. They deserve a fully functional redetermination system.

Categorized under Advocacy and Illinois.

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