Obamacare means piles of unpaid bills at Ill. nursing homes
The massive expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare has had an unintended consequence in Illinois, leaving nursing homes in the lurch as the state sits on a mountain of unpaid bills.
The state doesn’t know how much it owes nursing homes and other longterm-care facilities, some of which have gone a year or more without getting paid. But the figure is likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
About $129 million of what is owed has been approved and is waiting to be paid by the Illinois Comptroller’s Office. Another estimated $185 million in bills is being processed at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which oversees Medicaid. But the total amount likely is much higher because of a backlog of pending applications still making their way through the system. There are about 1,100 long-term-care providers in Illinois.
People who qualify for Medicaid and need long-term care must undergo a more stringent review than typical enrollees. But the state doesn’t have enough caseworkers—or the money to hire more—to get the job done in a timely manner, particularly as it is also dealing with a crush of 359,000 people who joined the Medicaid rolls because of Obamacare.
That’s left nursing homes on the hook as they let residents with pending applications live in their facilities essentially at no charge while hoping that the backlog eases.