Date: April 7, 2020
To: All Medical Assistance Program Providers
Re: Applying for Medicaid and other Medical Programs During the COVID-19 Emergency
This notice addresses current avenues available to patients who want to contact the State to apply for or manage coverage through Medicaid and other medical programs. Please help to get the information in this notice out to your patients, neighbors, and anyone you know who may need medical coverage at this time.
While maintaining crucial services, the Departments of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and Human Services (DHS) are taking actions to protect our staff and our clients during the COVID-19 emergency. Although DHS local Family Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) are currently open, they are operating with significantly reduced staff. However, many DHS and HFS eligibility staff are working remotely and continue to process benefits.
To Apply for Coverage
In order to protect customers and staff working in FCRCs, we strongly encourage customers to apply for or manage their coverage online at www.ABE.Illinois.gov. Clients can apply by phone but may experience long wait times. Call the ABE Call Center at 1-800-843-6154 to apply by phone.
HFS staff is working with our federal partners to implement new policies to simplify application processing so that all Illinois residents, especially those affected by COVID-19, can quickly access the medical benefits for which they are eligible. One of these changes allows the State in most cases to process applications for medical coverage without requiring documents that verify eligibility factors such as income.
We urge all who are applying for medical coverage to answer all application questions as completely as possible and to promptly submit applications without waiting for verification documents that are not immediately available.
HFS has asked our federal partners for guidance to pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment for all uninsured Illinoisans. Providers will be notified about the details of these plans as soon as information becomes available.
Expedited Application Processing for COVID-19 Involved Patients
Hospitals, physicians, and other primary care providers who are working with uninsured patients who need testing or treatment for COVID-19 should help patients to promptly apply for medical coverage. For expedited processing, please assist the patient in submitting their application through www.ABE.Illinois.gov and immediately send an email with the application tracking number to HFS.Priority19@illinois.gov. Please assist in submitting an application even if you are unsure as to whether a COVID-19 involved patient may be eligible for medical coverage.
Thank you for your care and compassionate treatment of our clients during this extremely difficult time.
Interim Medicaid Administrator