Illinois is now offering free health care to some illegal immigrants after state lawmakers approved the program last year. The new program will provide free healthcare to illegal immigrants between the ages of 55 and 64, FOX32 Chicago reported. Migrants over the age of 64 are already entitled to healthcare coverage in the state.
Covered services include doctor and hospital visits, lab tests, physical and occupational therapy, mental health, substance abuse disorder services, dental and vision services, and prescription drugs. In order to qualify, the recipient must be an “undocumented immigrant”, be between the ages of 55 through 64 and have a household income is at or below $18,754 for one person, or $25,268 for two people.
The plan will soon expand further in order to grant free healthcare to illegal immigrants between the ages of 42 through 55.
“The fact that we’re going to do this during the pandemic really shows our commitment to expansion and broadening health care access. It’s an amazing first step in the door,” said Graciela Guzmán in a statement last year. Guzmán currently serves as campaign director for Healthy Illinois, a group that advocates for universal coverage.
Under federal law, those who are in the country illegally are generally not eligible for Medicare, nonemergency Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace. The states that do cover this population get around that by using only state funds, according to KHN.
The initial policy covered between 4,200 to 4,600 immigrant seniors and was expected to cost between $46 million to $50 million a year, according to John Hoffman, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Updated figures for the expanded plan have not yet been provided.
An estimated 3,986 “undocumented” seniors live in Illinois, according to a study by Rush University Medical Center. That number is expected to grow to 55,144 by 2030.
Democratic lawmakers in California have also floated the possibility of using state funds to provide illegal immigrants with healthcare coverage.