Pritzker’s school Medicare expansion approved

By Joseph Howerton, Video Editor

DeKALB – An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but increased medical coverage doesn’t hurt.

The Biden administration has approved Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal on increased funds for Medicaid-enrolled students in Illinois. The expansion to Illinois School-Based Health Services program is expected to bring in tens of millions of additional Medicaid dollars annually toward Illinois schools for additional services.

Currently health care services that are available through School Based Health Services allow Medicaid to pay for the direct costs toward school based necessary medical services. These services are provided to children with disabilities in Individualized Education Program or an Individualized Family Service Plan. When Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reversed the decision to limit this funding, it opened the window to expand funding to more Medicaid enrolled students.

Approval on the proposal will bring in additional federal funds matching current funds for covered services of Medicare enrolled students. Increased funds will give broader access to in-school health services such as training offered to staff, mental health services, preventative care, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other services provided by Medicare.

Pritzker said the expansion of funding would give necessary healthcare and families and not overburden schools with the costs.

“For many Illinois children, school isn’t just a place to learn and build skills,” Pritzker said in a press release. “It’s also a place where many families can access services that are otherwise unobtainable to them, like behavioral healthcare or occupational therapy”