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Client Focus: Janae and William

When Janae gave birth to William, things didn’t go exactly as planned. William was born premature and needed a hernia surgery, but for some reason, Janae could not get him a medical card to pay for the hospital bills. She was also having trouble getting other public benefits to supplement her income. Through the help of her community health worker, Janae and William were referred to the Legal Council. After many phone calls, meetings, and much research, our legal staff discovered that because Janae was adopted, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was causing a roadblock with Medicaid and other public benefits. We helped Janae fill out paperwork, and through our combined efforts, Janae  was able to get a medical card, food stamps, and additional income through Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While Janae works hard at...

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Big Changes Coming for People with Both Medicaid and Medicare

Let’s just say it: everyone hates managed care.  Yet more and more of us get shoved into it.  The latest victims: people who receive both Medicaid and Medicare.  It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s coming soon. The US Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging states to submit proposals for a Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative.  Illinois has already submitted its plan.  In essence, the feds want people with both Medicare and Medicaid to get all their care through big, new HMOs.  And they want this done sooner rather than later.  They’re encouraging states to have their systems up and running by January 1, 2013. Here in northern Illinois, we started something similar last year, the Integrated Care Program (ICP).  It’s a managed care system for people with only Medicaid.  Like the looming Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative, it too was created...

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Link Card Follies

The best thing about the Illinois Department of Human Services is its highly developed sense of farce. Consider Jeff’s story. Recently Jeff went to his local IDHS office and applied for Food Stamps (also known as a Link Card … also known as SNAP … and no, that’s not really the farcical part of our tale). Not long thereafter, he received two letters from IDHS. Both letters were dated September 18. Both were sent from the same local IDHS office. The first said his application for food stamps was approved. The second said his application for food stamps was denied. The farce gets a tiny bit better. The next day Jeff received a third IDHS letter, from the same wacky local office, saying he would receive a Link Card with $93 on it. The card never showed up; clearly...

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