Help Squad: Untangling a Medicaid mess turns out to be complicated

Dear Help Squad,

I am a 26-year-old graduate student. I’m severely asthmatic and have been enrolled in a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Medicaid managed care plan since Oct. 1. It originally took four months for my Medicaid application to process and, after three months of coverage, I was involuntarily dropped from my plan. Since Jan. 7, I have been calling every phone number possible and not one person has been able to help.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (the department responsible for providing healthcare coverage to adults and children who qualify for Medicaid) put an alert on my account saying I was enrolled in two insurance programs, and without my knowledge dropped me from my Medicaid managed care plan. However, I was never enrolled in a second program. I called a BCBS appeal line, they admitted their mistake and told me the only thing I could do now was wait until April to re-enroll in a plan.

Due to HFS’s mistake, I lost my BCBSIL coverage, I had to change all of my doctors and medications, I had to pay out-of-pocket for an urgent care visit and I have $1,192 in pending medical charges. Today alone I spent seven hours on the phone (four of them on hold) only to be told there is nothing that can be done.

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