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By Carla Anderson
Aides to Gov. Pat Quinn announced in July 2012 that the Illinois health insurance exchange will operate as a state-federal partnership in its first year. With a Nov. 16 deadline to submit a plan to operate the exchange without federal assistance, the administration says it’s out of time. “At this point in time, in the situation we’re in, a state-federal partnership is the best way of assuring access to an exchange,” said Michael Gelder, the governor’s senior health-care policy adviser. As in many states, legislators have yet to authorize exchange development. First, they were waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, some continue to hope for the ACA’s demise, pinning their hopes on Republicans taking control of the White House and the U.S. Senate in the November elections and repealing health reform.
Consumer advocates and some legislators are disappointed that the exchange won’t be solely state run. They believe the state will lack leverage to negotiate with big healthcare companies operating in the state and be less able to protect consumers. “The federal exchange is a very strong starting point, but we know we can do much better here in Illinois,” said Jim Duffett, executive director for the Campaign for Better Health Care.
To date, Illinois has received $39 million in federal startup funds for an exchange. Most of the money is intended to build out the technology infrastructure so that the state can run the exchange itself after 2014.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1.9 million people in Illinois are uninsured. That’s about 16% of the state’s population. The exchange is expected to enroll about 486,000 people in its first year.
Updated Sept. 18, 2012
Health Insurance Exchanges
Illinois Department of Insurance
State Exchange Profile: Illinois
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Illinois’ progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Health Care Assistance
Office of the Attorney General
1-877-305-5145 (toll-free nationwide) TTY: (312) 964-3013
Serves residents enrolled in private health insurance
Office Consumer Health Insurance and the Ombudsman for the Uninsured
Illinois Department of Insurance
(877) 527-9431 (toll-free nationwide)
Serves residents who are uninsured as well as residents who have health insurance problems or questions.
Health insurance information, stats, news, quotes and more.
Let your Illinois governor and legislators know how you feel about the state's proposed health insurance exchange.Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
07/18/2012 4:07 PM -- The State Journal-Register — Gov. Quinn’s administration says it has run out of time to set up an exchange run solely by the state. The federal government will tend to the information systems needed to operate the exchange, while the state will define benefit levels and assist consumers.
07/09/2012 4:07 PM -- Progress Illinois — A coalition of health, labor, social service and religious organizations signed a letter urging Gov. Pat Quinn to issue an executive order establishing a state health insurance exchange.
06/27/2012 4:06 PM -- LifeHealth Pro — Rep. Frank Mautino says Illinois will not meet deadlines to run its own exchange. Instead, it will have to go with the state-federal partnership option established in May 2012.
11/06/2011 9:11 PM -- Lake County News-Sun – Disagreements about how to operate a state health insurance exchange in Illinois threaten efforts to get the exchange up and running in time for a federal deadline.