Illinois payments to providers of health services for state workers, retirees and university staffers could be halted during the budget impasse, the Rauner administration has warned.
"All health care services will continue to be paid as long as possible," a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services told the State Journal-Register on Friday. "However, in the near future, we will no longer have the legal authority to continue to pay health care vendors for their services."
No timeline was given as to when payments could stop.
"All applicable fiscal 2015 funding has now been exhausted," the CMS spokeswoman said. "Without a budget in place, there is no appropriation or legal authority to continue to pay health care providers."
The news about a possible state insurance payment freeze came as a shock to AFSCME Council 31.
In an interview with the State Journal-Register, AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall said, "The state has never said, 'We're not playing claims,' before."
Lindall said the news is "very disturbing," adding that AFSCME Council 31 "will do everything possible to correct it."
"It's further evidence that our state is breaking down," he told the newspaper.
The state has already stopped dental payments associated with services obtained by those covered under the state's health plan. Such patients are being asked to pay for their services in full. The state says they will be reimbursed later.
Illinois has been without a budget since the state entered the 2016 fiscal year on July 1.