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State to continue coverage of abortions in healthcare programs if Roe is overturned

In the second week of Women’s Health Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) today affirmed its commitment to covering abortion care for all Medicaid customers in the state of Illinois. 

As a freedom of choice state, Illinois is one of only 16 states that go beyond federal Medicaid limits and use state funds to cover abortions for people enrolled in Medicaid. The department covers both surgical and medical abortion services. 

“In this state, when we say that healthcare is a right and not a privilege, that includes the right to make reproductive health decisions – full stop,” said HFS Director Theresa Eagleson. “Every woman in our state deserves comprehensive and affordable access to health care, including abortion if that is the right decision for her. The choice to carry a baby to term is a physical, emotional, and economic one for the involved woman and those she trusts alone.”

Illinois state law (Public Act 101-0013) affirmatively provides a right to reproductive healthcare, including abortion and maternity care. This state law ensures access to abortion services even if Roe v. Wade were overturned. 

The department has issued a notice reminding Medicaid-enrolled healthcare providers about the state’s coverage for abortion services. 

Additionally, the department has issued a notice to the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) that help administer Medicaid that they are contractually required to include information on abortion service coverage in their member handbooks. The department instructed MCOs that call center staff and care coordinators must be prepared to answer enrollee questions about their abortion service coverage, including the continuation of this coverage even if Roe v. Wade were overturned. 

To ensure access to abortion services, the department has previously raised the rate it pays health care providers for abortion services.

HFS has two programs for pregnant women regardless of US citizenship or immigration status, for incomes up to 213% of the federal poverty line:

  • Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility (MPE) offers immediate, temporary coverage for outpatient healthcare for pregnant women. The department has worked to add more eligible health care providers into the MPE program
  • .Moms & Babies covers healthcare for women while they are pregnant and for 12 months after the baby is born, regardless of whether the pregnancy ended as a result of birth, miscarriage, or abortion and regardless of whether the individual signed an adoption agreement. Moms & Babies coverage is the full Medicaid benefit package. This includes coverage for hospital care, including labor and delivery, primary and specialty care, and prescription drugs. 

These two programs give pregnant women the care they need to keep them and their babies healthy. Providers can enroll pregnant women into MPE coverage to access services immediately. People can apply for Moms & Babies with or without MPE coverage. 

Moms & Babies can cover up to three months of coverage retroactively. This includes covering individuals who are no longer pregnant when they apply, but who were pregnant at any time during the three months prior to the date of application. Individuals with coverage under Moms & Babies stay covered with full Medicaid benefits for 12 months postpartum, regardless of how the pregnancy ends.

People covered under the state’s Health Benefits For Immigrant Adults program who become pregnant can transition to coverage under the Moms & Babies program. 

About Medicaid
Medicaid is a federal and state partnership that provides free health insurance for more than 3.5 million people in Illinois. People can usually get Medicaid if their income is low enough. But it is also for children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with disabilities.

People can apply for benefits at Medicaid pays for things like doctor visits, treatments, hospital visits, prescription medicine, mental health care and transportation to medical appointments at no cost. Medicaid has no premiums or co-pays.

About the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for providing healthcare coverage for adults and children who qualify for Medicaid, and for providing Child Support Services to help ensure that Illinois children receive financial support from both parents.

The department is organized into two major divisions, Medical Programs and Child Support Services. In addition, the Office of Inspector General is maintained within the agency, but functions as a separate, independent entity reporting directly to the governor’s office. Read more.

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