More Illinoisans to be eligible for Medicaid


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. - Illinois is set to receive $12 billion in healthcare funding from the Affordable Care Act.

It is the largest healthcare coverage increase in state history.

On Monday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation enacting a portion of the Affordable Care Act that will make more people eligible for Medicaid.

The measure will enroll nearly 350,000 Illinoisans in the Medicaid program by 2017.

18% of adults are currently uninsured in Franklin, Jackson, Perry and Williamson counties; that is nearly 20,000 people.

Nearly 9,000 of those people will soon be eligible for Medicaid.

After 2014, Medicaid will also cover a group that has never been covered before: non-disabled adults without children.

Stephanie Duckworth has made it her life's work to help others succeed.

"Some of these individuals just have heartbreaking stories. And you can tell that they really want help," said Duckworth.

She works with the H Group, a non-profit dedicated to both the mental wellness and financial stability of struggling Illinoisans.

Duckworth says so often her clients want to change.

"It's very difficult when they don't have an avenue to get there," said Duckworth.

She says Quinn's decision will open doors.

Instead of being turned away, more H Group clients will be processed through the Medicaid system.

"It's going to be really nice to be able to help some of these families that we haven't been able to help in the past, some of those clients that we knew really needed the services but our hands were kind of tied," said Duckworth.

She says although Obamacare has been controversial, this is an example of the Affordable Healthcare Act in action.

The Department of Insurance has yet to sign off on this, until then nothing will change, but it is expected for them to do so in the near future.