Clients 1-877-912-1999 Ext. 2 Enrollee Services TTY:1-866-565-8577

Healthy Habits

Monday, March 3, 2014
Illinois Tobacco Quitline (ITQL)

Overview of service
The Illinois Tobacco Quitline (ITQL) is funded by the Illinois Department of Public in partnership with the American Lung Association.  They ITQL serves both reactive and proactive callschedules. This ITQL gathers demographic and minimal data set tobacco questions on all callers. Content of sessions is based on the callers’ readiness and stage of quitting. Education on FDA approved interventions and recommendations for use are discussed. FDA approved tobacco cessation interventions are arranged currently through sources approved. The ITQL staff have been trained in risk assessment questioning, counseling tobacco users with mental illness and in communicating to those with a diverse ethnic background. The ITQL currently provides individual tobacco cessation counseling along with mailed or electronic versions of educational and support material.

Background and relevant experience with tobacco cessation services.
Established in 2001, the ITQL is the only lung health information and smoking cessation program offered by ‘Lung Health Experts’ due to the partnership with the American Lung Association. The ITQL provides barrier-free access to tobacco-cessation services through ease of accessibility to tobacco cessation education, counseling and support when callers are motivated to quit.

The ITQL staff are Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists, RN’s and or RRT’s and are trained in education of cessation and tobacco cessation interventions. Staff has attended training at the Mayo Clinic, New Jersey Medical and Dental School or Florida State University programs. Training has included addressing stages of change, motivational interviewing and recommended treatment for nicotine dependence. Many staff are also ancillary medical professionals and have backgrounds in previous counseling and health education with multiple years of clinical experience.

The ITQL intake and enrollment utilizes the Minimal Data Set Assessment recommended by North American Quitline Consortium. Caller and household disease status is also tracked. We currently evaluate a callers tobacco history, use, past use of products,  flying, PRP, PSP status, deployment status, rank, branch of service, medication and risk assessment questionnaire for making recommendations about each cessation product and appropriate use. The ITQL offers live answer reactive and counselor initiated proactive calls. Calls in queue transfer to live answer Intake Specialists.

Our staff provides cessation counseling and relapse prevention to eligible clients. A tobacco cessation counselor works with each individual to develop a detailed tobacco cessation plan best suited to that person's tobacco habits and lifestyle. Each caller will receive individualized counseling and subsequent information outlining the tobacco cessation process.


During the National Conference on Tobacco or Health and the National Quitline Consortium meetings July 2012, details were presented on “industry standards” for follow- ups.  The recommendation is as follows:
Conduct follow-up seven months following enrollment.  This recommendation builds upon the existing MDS (minimal data set) system and has the advantage that a majority of cessation programs already conduct follow-up at this time.  This recommendation corresponds well to the six month time point recommended by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) workgroup while also allowing an initial one month grace period to initiate both treatment and a quit attempt. 

Over the past few years, we had been promoting and implemented follow up calls at 3, 6 and 12 months post a self-reported quit date. We now make a 7 month follow up call to all callers enrolled in the program regardless of quit status during calls to the Helpline. This now aligns with the industry standard. Our follow up data set mirrors the recommendation set forth by Department of HHS/CDC in the Quit line Resource Guide.

Hours of Operation
The Illinois Tobacco Quitline operates 24 hours with live voice answer. Counseling is available 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.CST, seven days a week. Current phone technology provides multiple call routing to available staff, call queue monitoring, queued call back, on hold messaging and voice mail capabilities.

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Illinois Expands Medicaid

Illinois Expands Medicaid
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided incentives for States to expand Medicaid to cover adults never before covered. Illinois responded by passing IL Public Act 98-104 (pdf).  Starting January 1, 2014, a new group Illinois residents, known as “ACA adults” are eligible for Medicaid.  To be eligible for this group, someone must:
·         Be between 19 and 64 years of age;
·         Be a U.S. citizens or have legal status,
·         Not be eligible under a previous Medicaid eligibility group (such as moms & babies, or parent/caretaker), and
·         Have a monthly income at or below 138% of the federal poverty level ($1,321.35 for an individual or $1,783.65 for a couple). 

In addition to expanding coverage, Illinois has made it easier for people to apply for coverage including online through , over the phone at 1-800-843-6154 or with the help of Navigators trained through the Health Insurance Marketplace program.  A list of Navigators along with screening questions to help someone determine whether they should apply for health coverage through Medicaid or the Health Insurance Marketplace, can be found on the state’s www.GetCoveredIllinois.govwebsite.  If a consumer has questions about what coverage is right for them, please refer them to that website.

It’s important for someone to apply to the right program because under the ACA, individuals and families who are eligible for minimum essential coverage (MEC) such as Medicare, Medicaid or employer-sponsored coverage will not be eligible for Advanced Premium Tax Credits to buy coverage on the Marketplace.  As a result, it is important to understand that these new ACA adults are likely to be individuals who are young and not yet working in jobs that offer coverage, working adults in-between jobs, or older adults not yet eligible for Medicare, who took early retirement or are out of the workforce.

Currently, Illinois has enrolled 152,000 adults in the ACA adult category, 74,000 of them in Cook County’s CountyCare program.  Through the Medicaid expansion and the requirement that all individuals have health coverage in 2014, Illinois estimates an additional 509,000 individuals will enroll in Medicaid by 2017.

Public Notices regarding the Alternative Benefit Plan for newly eligible ACA adults can be found at the following link:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Access to Care- Filling the Gap for the Uninsured

If you are under the age of 65 and live in Suburban Cook County or in NW Chicago, (west of Pulaski Rd. AND north of North Ave) with:

*A family income of less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines
*No health insurance (or deductible of $500 or more per person) and ineligible for Medicare or Public Aid


Non-Refundable Annual Enrollment Fees are:
$20 for one person
$40 for two people
$50 for three or more Adult Members under 65 in one family

This applies to Husband, Wife, and Dependent Children 19 to 26 ONLY
(Children under 18 are generally eligible for Illinois State medical programs)

Access to Care offers:
* Doctor Office Visits for: $5
* Prescription Medication: $15-$30-$40
* Lab Tests and X-rays: $5


Access to Care (Registered Trademark) is a not-for-profit program supported by grants

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Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
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