SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Several thousand Springfield Clinic patients insured through Illinois’ health plans will be asked to pay hundreds of dollars in co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs the clinic hasn’t tried to collect for the past year and a half.

The clinic usually waits to bill patients their share of the total cost after the State Employee Group Insurance Program pays for the majority of the cost, The State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/2ee3jTs ) reported.

But payment for certain plans are at a standstill during the ongoing state budget crisis. The clinic, which is owed $68 million, has decided to ask patients to pay their share of bills regardless of whether Illinois’ share has been paid.

“Under normal circumstances, Springfield Clinic would not bill the patient’s responsibility (co-insurance) until after the claim had been paid by insurance,” said a letter sent to patients last week. “However, because the state is so delinquent in its payments, Springfield Clinic has decided to temporarily deviate from our standard billing practice.”

Requesting the payment from patients will help the clinic catch up, said Mark Kuhn, the clinic’s chief administrative officer. He also noted the clinic does offer payment plans for its patients.

“We’re just doing catch-up on member balances,” he said

Fully insured plans that cover state workers, which include Health Alliance, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Coventry Health Care, have continued to voluntarily pay health care professionals and hospitals. Despite the fact that the state is far behind on paying the plans their monthly premiums.

The clinic’s payment requests will apply to future medical services and for claims remained unpaid for the past 12 to 18 months.

The clinic hasn’t decided if they will ask patients in the future to also pay the state’s share of their bills, however, according to Kuhn, the clinic would reimburse patients after receiving the state’s payments.

Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com