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Illinois launches health care for immigrant adults aged 55 to 64

Building on the first-in-the-nation program Illinois launched in late 2020, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has launched the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program to provide health care coverage to undocumented immigrant adults and certain legal permanent residents aged 55 to 64.

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.

These new services, which were authorized in legislation passed by the General Assembly during the spring 2021 session, build on the successful Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors program that has provided Medicaid-like benefits to qualifying immigrant adults aged 65 and older since December 2020.

“Implementing more equitable health care coverage across the state is central to HFS’ mission, which means increasing access to quality health care choices for all Illinois residents, regardless of their immigration status,” said Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson. “Amid a pandemic that has disproportionately affected older adults and people of color, efforts to remove barriers and create a more equitable health care system are more important as ever.”

“Immigrant families face many challenges in their lives, and to know that their loved one may now have access to health care services will give families hope for a better quality of life in the state they’ve chosen as their home,” said HFS Assistant Director Jenny Aguirre. “Everyone deserves to have a healthier future, and I’m so proud that in Illinois, we consider health care access and equity a top priority.”

Individuals are eligible for coverage through this program if they meet these requirements:

  • They are between the ages of 55-64.
  • They are either an undocumented immigrant or a legal permanent resident of the United States for less than five years.
  • Annual household income is at or below $18,754 for one person; $25,268 for two people. The income limit is equal to the ACA Adult program.

Following the General Assembly’s passage of HB 4343 during the spring legislative session, the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program will expand further to include eligible adults aged 42 to 54, effective July 1.

“The pandemic has shown us that it is critical for everyone to have access to high-quality health care, particularly as they age,” said Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago. “The Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program providing coverage to noncitizen adults aged 55 and over is a significant step toward a more equitable health care system in Illinois. I look forward to working with the administration as we build on this successful program until all immigrant adults qualify for these benefits.”

“Expanding health benefits for immigrant adults regardless of legal status sends a strong message: in Illinois, we are committed to creating a health care system that everyone can access,” said Sen. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago. “Illinois is continuing to lead the way and set an example for all states when it comes to equity in health care.”

“Without access to health care coverage, encountering health issues presents monumental challenges for immigrant families,” said Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D-Bolingbrook. “Expanding this coverage is critical to ensuring families can build a strong foundation for a healthy future.”

Individuals can apply for new benefits at any time using the following methods:

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