Cook County’s early Medicaid expansion under way

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CHICAGO (AP) – Cook County officials say 37,000 applications have been initiated in a new program that will provide insurance coverage without cost to patients.

The CountyCare program expands Medicaid coverage a year ahead of what’s coming in many states under the Affordable Care Act.

Cook County Health and Hospitals System spokeswoman Marisa Kollias says the goal is to enroll 115,000 people by January.

The program covers doctors’ visits, emergency care, prescriptions, hospital stays, mammograms, family planning and other services.

To be eligible, patients must live in Cook County, be 19 to 64 years old and have an income below 133% of federal poverty guidelines. For a two-person household, that’s an annual income below about $20,000. The program is open to U.S. citizens and immigrants in the country legally.

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