Hospital Bills Could Rise Due to Illinois Budget Backlog

State owes billions to hospitals with no solution in sight

EYEWITNESS NEWS CAPITOL BUREAU - You may see an increase in your hospital bills soon. That's because the state still owes billions of dollars to healthcare providers. Without a budget, costs could rise to record levels.

"Probably some of it was inevitable. We've gone over a year now without payments to the group insurance program."

It comes as no surprise the state owes billions of dollars to hospitals because of the lack of a budget for over a year. But, what may be even more shocking for state workers is, the next visit to the doctor could cause sticker shock.

"I can only carry so much and collectibles and the receivables are getting so high that's going to start asking for some payments upfront."

Right now, the state owes more than $3.5 billion to hospitals, doctors and dentists' offices around the state. Some facilities are planning ahead and might start asking more patients to pay for services upfront.

"I don't think it's fair. I think, in reality, it comes down to the state fixing their problems and not putting more on the taxpayers and on the workers. We're working hard already and trying to responsibly pay their bills."

Dan Long oversees the Commission of Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA). He says it impacts more people than you think.

"Areas where there's a large amount of state employees like Springfield, University of Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington. It can build up quite significantly because that's a big percentage of their clientele."

Some people say they're disappointed.

"So, what am I going to do? Like, these people, you can't fight big companies like this. They've got more money that you, so you just pretty much got to do what they want you to do."

Long says the stop-gap budget, which was passed this spring, didn't help. It didn't include any general revenue funds which is a big portion of these payments.

"Most of the money that's available is that it's been deducted from employees' paychecks from their portion."

Long says each month which goes by, the backlog of bills will increase by about $200 million a month.

The CGFA says, if lawmakers do not pass a budget when they return in November, the backlog could reach up to $4 billion.

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