Covered by Medicaid? You need to do this

Even when you're doing a good job of taking good care of yourself and trying to be healthy, it can be easy to let things slide.

I see it in my patients all the time. Maybe you are working hard to have your high blood pressure or diabetes under control. But then you skip taking medicine one day. Maybe you forget to make a doctor appointment, or put off doing what the doctor suggested the last time you did visit.

Here's the thing: The longer you put things off now, the more health issues you might have later.

That's what I thought of when I heard that about 700,000 people in Illinois could lose Medicaid coverage in the coming months. Over the course of the pandemic, Medicaid coverage was renewed automatically. Now, you may have to prove you still qualify in order to keep your benefits. An initial 114,000 letters are going out in May.

Losing benefits can make it more difficult or more expensive to keep getting that routine care that you need to stay healthy. You don't want to put off getting that care.

So here's what you should do: If you get a letter from the state, make sure you take action. And get ahead of things by going to to verify your address, or call 800-843-6154 if you need more help.

The state is working to keep people covered, and it's important that you do your part to make sure they have the right information. Making sure you don't have your Medicaid benefits interrupted means you can get the health care you need now.

I want to make sure I can keep seeing my patients when they need my help - and when they need a gentle reminder to get back on track to keep eating well, exercising and taking their medicine. Those same appointments where we talk about the basics are also critical check-ins where we can catch serious health problems early - and address them proactively.

So here's your gentle reminder. Make sure your Medicaid benefits aren't interrupted by watching for a letter from the state, and going to or calling 800-843-6154. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor - we are glad to help or point you in the direction of resources that can. We're in this together.

Dr. Senora Nelson is a family medicine physician with Advocate Health Care.

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