Friday, June 10, 2022

As we celebrate Pride month in June, this is the perfect time to take stock of legislative wins and begin to strategize on future policy priorities to advance equity and inclusion in Illinois. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ+) people and people living with HIV face unique challenges as they age. A lack of equitable and supportive resources and services along with prejudice and stigma keep many LGBTQ+ older adults from accessing the healthcare and services they need. The 102nd General Assembly took steps to remedy these challenges, passing several landmark bills that add protections for LGBTQ+ older adults and older adults living with HIV. 

Disrupting Disparities for LGBTQ+ Older Adults and Older Adults Living with HIV (SB3490) 

On May 16th Senate Bill 3490 passed, amending the Illinois Act on Aging to add the following provisions: 

  1. Creates a new position at the Illinois Department on Aging for an LGTBQ+ Older adult Advocate to ensure the needs and experiences of LGBTQ older adults and older adults living with HIV are considered and incorporated into the agency’s programs and policies
  2. Requires state- funded providers to complete LGBTQ+ older adults awareness & competency training
  3. Creates the Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging to review systems, create opportunities for testimony and hearings, and recommend policy changes 

Getting to Zero In the FY 23 Illinois State Budget 

$10 million in funding was included in the state’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget to help advance the goals of the Getting to Zero Illinois Plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. The funding will do the following: 

  1. Address health disparities experienced by people living with or vulnerable to HIV, including black, Latino/a/e/x and LGBTQ+ communities.
  2. Invest in HIV testing, prevention and treatment 

Medicaid Omnibus (HB4343) 

The State Medicaid budget passed with new requirements to simplify renewals among those without employment income, people with disabilities including HIV, and older adults. These new provisions are intended to encourage Medicaid enrollment by making permanent the current practice of Medicaid continuous eligibility for Illinoisans with fluctuating incomes.  

There’s Still Work to Do 

Even as we celebrate these victories, AgeGuide recognizes that more work needs to be done to create a more just and equitable society that supports all older adults and people with disabilities. Our advocacy and outreach will continue to advance the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Please take a moment to support our efforts by sending a letter to your legislators today in support of older adults in the FY2023 Federal Budget. 


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