Illinois almost a year behind on its health insurance bills

Illinois almost a year behind on its health insurance bills

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois is nine to 12 months behind in its payments for health insurance for state employees, retiree and dependents, a state legislative panel was told Tuesday.

The amount of unpaid health care bills "will be about $1.8 billion by (June 30), and we anticipate holding that about flat going into fiscal year 2014," Marcia Armstrong of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services told the Legislature's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

State officials have said that a new contract with AFSCME members that is also applicable to other state employees will save the state millions.

But it won't do much for the backlog of bills to health care providers. Currently, the state owes those providers, including Urbana-based Health Alliance, about $1.6 billion.

Health Alliance alone is owed about $300 million, according to Lori Cowdrey Benso, its senior vice president of corporate affairs.

The state will pay as much as $80 million this year in interest because of the late payment of bills, Armstrong said.

"We've paid out at least $28 million so far, but we have more to pay out," she said.

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