CMS announces healthcare cutbacks. Here’s what that means

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_Lukitsch

Illinois’ budget crisis may cost an arm and a leg.

SIUC’s Department of Human Resources relayed a message to all employees on Wednesday from the Illinois Department of Central Management Services telling them they might have to pay health insurance costs out of pocket soon.

The notice from CMS cited the lack of a state budget as putting the agency in “uncharted territory with respect to funding critical state services.” Enrollees in the State Employees Group Insurance Program who have plans with certain healthcare providers may have to wait for reimbursements until after a budget is passed.

Advertisement

“All healthcare services will continue to be paid as long as possible,” the statement from CMS said. “However, in the near future, we will no longer have the legal authority to continue to pay healthcare vendors for their services.”

While she was not able to provide a specific figure of employees covered by each provider, university spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said it could impact a majority of the faculty members at the university.

“We can’t say yet what it will mean to individual employees, but it certainly raises the seriousness of the budget situation to a very personal level,” Goldsmith said.

The notice identified Cigna, HealthLink OAP, Coventry OAP and Delta Dental as a few providers that asked its enrollees to pay cash at their time of service.

Reimbursements for dental claims will come directly from the plan, and reimbursements from the provider will come for medical claims once the provider receives payment.  

Discord between state legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner has been an ongoing issue in Springfield, as Illinois is now into its third month without a budget for fiscal year 2016.

Rachel Stocking, president of the SIUC Faculty Association, said via email that some members of her organization have already expressed concern regarding the announcement by CMS.

Advertisement

“The possible implications of the announcement are quite distressing,” she wrote.

Bill Lukitsch can be contacted at [email protected] 

Advertisement