- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois owes roughly $2.8 billion for health care coverage in its state employee group insurance program, a consequence of the stalemate that’s left the state without a budget since July.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/1Sle6qe ) that payment delays to health insurers and medical providers now average 15 months.

The delays can be attributed both to the state’s budget stalemate and to years of underfunding in the group insurance program, said Meredith Krantz of Illinois Central Management Services.

The budget standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the Legislature is in its ninth month.

Illinois owes Urbana-based Health Alliance Medical Plans $720 million for 16 months’ worth or premiums. Health Alliance is owned by the Carle health system.

The state and its health plans are working with providers to avoid problems for patients covered by the group insurance program, Krantz said.

Carle and Presence Health hospitals have continued to serve state employees without any changes, officials said.

“We treat this no differently than we ever have,” said Deb Schimerowski, chief financial officer for Presence Covenant and Presence United Samaritans medical centers. “We accept the insurance and just wait for the state to pay us.”

The Presence hospitals, located in Urbana and Danville, are waiting for $1.73 million to cover medical claims for patients covered by state employee group insurance, she said.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com

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