HealthChoice Illinois: Important Changes to Your Medicaid Benefits

Stephanie Struyck Elgin
Author | Shield HealthCare
01/12/18  3:07 PM PST
HealthChoice Illinois

HealthChoice Illinois: Important Changes to Your Medicaid Benefits

The state of Illinois recently rebooted their Medicaid managed care program to cover all counties in Illinois. The member-focused program, called HealthChoice Illinois, was launched on Jan. 1, 2018, and emphasizes whole-person care, helping beneficiaries make smart healthcare decisions.

As your provider of medical supplies, Shield HealthCare wants to let you know about these changes so you have the information needed to make the best decision for your care.

What is HealthChoice Illinois?

As of 2018, Illinois expanded their managed care program, now covering all counties in Illinois. HealthChoice Illinois combines the Family Health Program, Integrated Care Program and Managed Long Term Supports and Services and is mandatory in all the counties. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the portion of Medicaid beneficiaries in managed care will increase from about 63% to more than 80%, serving nearly 2.7 million residents.

With this program, patients can choose a health plan that best suits their needs. The plan streamlines procedures to better serve patients and providers and establishes guidelines for better whole-person care coordination for each member.

According to a press release from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, “HealthChoice Illinois will bring quality healthcare for those with limited resources while ensuring sustainable costs for taxpayers,” said Director of Healthcare and Family Services Felicia Norwood. “By fostering smart health decisions, we strengthen the entire program, and everyone benefits.”

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services plans to partner with HealthChoice Illinois on awareness initiatives that will encourage smart healthcare choices, foster medical provider participation and help provide strategies for members to live healthier lives.

Which health plans are available?

The program consists of seven managed care plans, a reduction from 12. As stated by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the reduction will lead to benefits of scale, including less overhead and more efficient administration.

Plans include:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.
  • Harmony Health Plan.
  • IlliniCare Health Plan.
  • Meridian Health.
  • Molina Healthcare.
  • CountyCare (operating in Cook County only).
  • Next Level Health (operating in Cook County only).

Shield HealthCare is contracted with ALL HealthChoice Illinois plans. Despite which health plan patients choose, Shield HealthCare will continue to provide them with their supplies. For patients whose current providers are not contracted with their newly selected HealthChoice Plan, Shield HealthCare can serve their supply needs.

When will this change take place?

Members in counties with Medicaid managed care programs made the transition to the new HealthChoice Illinois program as of Jan. 1, 2018. Members currently enrolled in a health plan that was also chosen for HealthChoice Illinois can remain with their current plan unless they choose to switch to a new plan during a 90-day switch period. Members in counties that were previously not a part of the managed care program will join HealthChoice Illinois beginning April 1, 2018.

Shield HealthCare is working diligently to continue to provide patients with all their medical supplies. Please check our website for the most current information on the HealthChoice Illinois initiative, or contact your Illinois sales office at (800) 675-8847 with any questions. Our main priority is to help you and your patients through this important change.

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