SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Comprehensive Insurance Program (ICHIP) Board unanimously approved an expansion of healthcare coverage to assist seriously ill or injured teens, or those with pre-existing conditions, maintain healthcare coverage. The All Kids program offers families affordable health insurance for their children, but teens over age 18 are no longer eligible for coverage under All Kids. The Bridge program will prevent a lapse in healthcare coverage and ensure premiums stay affordable for young people when All Kids coverage ends on their 19th birthday.
A young adult with a serious pre-existing health condition is not likely to receive coverage for that condition through the commercial health insurance market, or would be unable to afford private coverage in the unlikely event it were available to that individual. The Governor asked the ICHIP Board to review the insurance limitations confronting seriously ill 18 year olds and to execute a plan that allows for the continuation of health care. As requested by the Governor, the CHIP Board evaluated program and benefit options and will now move to enhance ICHIP to provide continuous affordable, comprehensive coverage through age 21.
“We take care of children who are seriously ill or have pre-existing conditions through our All Kids health insurance program. But, after their 19th birthday, it becomes extremely difficult for these individuals to find the comprehensive and affordable healthcare they need and deserve,” said Governor Blagojevich. “We are committed to making sure these young adults are taken care of. The new All Kids Bridge program will continue effective healthcare treatment so that they have a chance at full recovery or a stabilized condition.”
Michael McRaith, Illinois Director of Insurance and Chairman of the ICHIP Board of Directors, commended the work of his Board colleagues. "The Board recognized the critical need for continued healthcare for these unfortunately sick or injured young adults," McRaith said, "Fortunately, when funded, the ICHIP program now has offered the State a responsible alternative."
ICHIP offers health insurance to the people of Illinois with pre-existing conditions who were denied coverage by private health insurers. ICHIP aids individuals with medical conditions that exclude them from obtaining private coverage and who have incomes that exclude them from public health care programs. ICHIP participants have benefits that include doctor visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, emergency services, prescription drugs, and more.
Working with the departments of Healthcare and Family Services, Public Health, and Human Services, the Director and ICHIP will develop and implement the program to allow young adults with critical health care needs to receive continuous care at an affordable cost. Once implemented, this new program for 19-21 year olds (ending on their 21st birthday) will provide continuous coverage at costs comparable to All Kids.