To apply for CountyCare, applicants must live in Cook County, be between the ages of 19 and 64, be a legal immigrant for at least five years or a U.S. citizen, meet income limits, and have a Social Security number or have applied for one.
CCHHS has been enrolling individuals at 138 locations, including Cook County Jail.
“When an individual comes to the jail, the screening is focused on non-violent offenders,” said Caryn Stancik, executive director of communications at Cook County Health & Hospitals System. “During the initial screening process, when a detainee first comes in to the jail, [the detainee] is asked a series of questions to see if [he or she] is eligible for CountyCare.”
Detainees are asked questions such as if they have health care providers, if they take medication for health conditions, and if they have been hospitalized in the last six months.
“The idea is that we can identify the needs of individuals while they’re there, and [we] also make sure that when they are released we provide a way to make sure they continue to receive health care after they leave,” Stancik said.
Since CCHHS began screening detainees for eligibility in CountyCare, roughly 56,000 individuals have been screened and 14,000 have had applications started.
“Right now, we have over 3,000 people who have health insurance cards through this program,” she said, adding the discrepancy between the number of people approved and the number of applications filed is due to a former law that prevented an application from being submitted for approval until a detainee was released. “January 1st, that law was changed, allowing us to submit applications earlier now.”
Roughly 93 percent of detainees who have had their applications submitted have been approved for CountyCare.