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August 30, 2007

Governor Blagojevich announces All Kids Bridge, an expansion of healthcare for young adults who otherwise would not be able to get coverage
Plan expands access to affordable, quality healthcare for seriously ill teens or those with pre-existing conditions when they get too old for All Kids

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an expansion of healthcare coverage to assist seriously ill or injured teens or those with pre-existing conditions transition from All Kids to the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (ICHIP).  This new All Kids Bridge Program will prevent a lapse in healthcare and ensure premiums stay affordable for young people when All Kids coverage ends on their 19th birthdays. 
A young adult with a serious pre-existing condition is not likely to receive coverage for that condition through the conventional health insurance market, or would be unable to afford private coverage in the unlikely event it were offered.
“We take care of children who are seriously ill or have pre-existing conditions through our All Kids health insurance program.  But, after their 19th birthdays, it becomes extremely difficult for them to find the comprehensive and affordable healthcare they need and deserve,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “We are committed to making sure these young adults are taken care of and the new All Kids Bridge program will make sure they don’t lose coverage.”
ICHIP offers health insurance to Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions whose coverage was rejected by private health insurers.  ICHIP is intended to aid individuals with medical conditions that exclude them from obtaining private coverage and whose incomes are too high to qualify for public health care programs.  For young adults with preexisting conditions who reach the age limit in All Kids and are at risk of losing coverage, Governor Blagojevich will expand ICHIP and subsidize the premiums to provide continuous affordable, comprehensive coverage through age 21. ICHIP participants have benefits that include doctor visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, emergency services, prescription drugs, and more.
Governor Blagojevich instructed the Director of Insurance Michael McRaith, who also serves as Chairman of the ICHIP Board of Directors, to work with the Board and related state agencies to create the All Kids Bridge Program.  On August 28, the Board approved the objectives of the Governor’s proposed expansion. 
Working with the Departments of Healthcare and Family Services, Public Health and Human Services, the Director and ICHIP will develop and implement the program to allow young adults with critical health care needs to receive continuous care at an affordable cost. Once implemented, this new program for 19-21 year olds (ending on their 21st birthday) will provide continuous coverage at a cost no more than what they paid while on All Kids.  The continuous coverage will provide the opportunity for a complete recovery, or for an improved or stable quality of life.
Governor Blagojevich first announced his intention to expand access to healthcare for young adults with serious illnesses and pre-existing conditions earlier this month when he explained how his administration will pursue administrative changes to dramatically improve access to healthcare for thousands of Illinois families.  Using his executive authority, Governor Blagojevich will bolster state healthcare programs and give 500,000 more Illinoisans, including young adults, access to affordable health coverage and services, including;
  • Every uninsured woman in Illinois will be eligible to get screened and treated for breast and cervical cancer, greatly improving cancer outcomes and saving lives. 
  • Poor adults who are not eligible for Medicaid will have the chance to see a doctor regularly and get the prescription medications they need.
  • By changing eligibility limits for the FamilyCare program, more working and middle-class uninsured parents will receive access to health coverage at affordable rates. 
  • Families struggling with the high cost of health insurance premiums will be able to apply for yearly subsidies worth 20% of their annual premiums, up to $1,000.


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