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Illinois Wins Federal Nod for Medicaid/Medicare Coverage Plan

Federal authorities have signed off on an Illinois program that will launch later this year to link Medicare and Medicaid coverage for more than 135,000 patients on both government health programs.The approval solidifies a demonstration program that promises new business for several health insurers--including Molina Healthcare Inc. (MOH), Centene Corp. (CNC), Aetna Inc. (AET), Humana Inc. (HUM) and Cigna Corp. (CI)--picked by the state last November to cover so-called dual-eligible patients. Insurers are slated to start coordinating care for dual patients in the Chicago area and central Illinois in October.The state is one of about two dozen aiming to test ways to better cover patients who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid due to age or disability, plus lack of financial resources. The states' goal--working with the federal government with some help from the health-care overhaul law--is to streamline a sometimes-confusing system while improving care and restraining costs.Friday's ...

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