In the early summer of 2023, under pressure from the Illinois Legislature, Gov. JB Pritzker promised to implement mandatory co-pays for undocumented immigrants receiving otherwise free healthcare in Illinois. However, his Administration quickly put the plan on hold, allowing undocumented noncitizens enrolled in the program to continue to receive top-tier, free healthcare.

Now, more than three years after launching the program, and approximately eight months after first promising the co-pay requirement, the Pritzker Administration is finally moving forward on the plan, albeit with a major catch. The co-pays aren’t actually required, and providers may choose not to implement them.

The co-pays had first been proposed as part of an effort to rein in the costs of the taxpayer-funded program that were estimated to rise to well over a billion dollars per year. Now, after the months-long pause and little transparency, it will be hard to tell how much will actually be saved.

As the majority of asylum seekers are expected to likely be denied asylum, their numbers will likely add to the growing number of undocumented immigrants receiving benefits.

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