State pays out Medicaid money, still has billions in outstanding bills – Chicago Tribune

Doctors and hospitals that treat Medicaid managed care patients soon likely will get some long-awaited payments — but Illinois still has a long way to go when it comes to paying off all of its Medicaid bills.

The Illinois comptroller’s office announced Wednesday that this week it paid $740 million to Medicaid managed care organizations — insurers that administer benefits for about 2 million people in Illinois.

The state still, however, owes Medicaid managed care organizations about $3.5 billion.

The distribution followed state lawmakers’ passage of a budget earlier this month and a federal judge’s order last month that the state pay at least $586 million to the organizations in July. The judge said in the order that the backlog of bills was “crippling” doctors, hospitals and clinics that care for Medicaid managed care patients, reducing those patients’ access to care.

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