illinois guide to health insurance

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Illinois health insurance exchange

Average monthly premium in IL is $105 after tax credits

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Obamacare enrollment in Illinois has ended for the year. People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage through the marketplace begins Nov. 15.

Signups for qualified health plans (QHPs) in Illinois grew 91 percent during the final weeks of enrollment, climbing from 113,733 to 217,492. An additional 181,070 people qualified for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Illinois is among the 27 states that are expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Among Illinois residents selecting a QHP, 77 percent qualified for financial assistance, compared to 85 percent nationally. A report released in June by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed the average monthly premium, after tax credits, for Illinois consumers was $105. Twenty-five percent of enrollees pay $50 or less per month after subsidies.

Twenty-nine percent of Illinois residents selected a bronze plan (20 percent nationally), 56 percent selected a silver plan (65 percent nationally), 15 percent selected a gold plan (9 percent nationally), 1 percent selected a platinum plan (5 percent nationally) and 0 percent selected a catastrophic plan (2 percent nationally). Thirty-one percent of Illinois enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Illinois runs its marketplace, Get Covered Illinois, as a partnership with the federal government. State residents use the federal marketplace,, to enroll. The administration of Gov. Pat Quinn hoped to move to a state-run marketplace for the 2015 coverage year. However, Illinois has not passed legislation for a state-run health insurance marketplace. Advocates for a state-run exchange now fear it may be 2018 or later before the state takes over sole control of the exchange.

It appears that there will be more competition in Illinois for the 2015 plan year. In mid-June, Illinois announced that eight insurers submitted applications to sell 504 health plans: 306 policies for individuals and 198 for small groups. For the 2014 plan year, six insurers offered 165 policies in Illinois: 120 individual plans and 45 for small groups. United Healthcare, which does significant business in the state, will join the Illinois marketplace after sitting out the first year. The Illinois Department of Insurance will review the 2015 applications and make its recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by early August.

Illinois is delaying the launch of employee choice on the small business or SHOP exchange. “Employee choice” allows employees of small businesses that use the SHOP to select from a range of plans rather than being limited to a single plan selected by their employer. The federal government let states that use the federal marketplace choose if they want to implement employee choice for 2015. Illinois is one of 18 states that is delaying implementation of employee choice.

Illinois health insurance exchange resources

Get Covered Illinois

Health Care Reform in Illinois

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.