By Carla Anderson
April 1, 2014
March 31 was the last day to apply for private health insurance coverage for 2014. However, consumers who started applications on HealthCare.gov by the deadline and self-reported they weren’t able to finish have until April 15 to complete enrollment. The extension is available in Illinois and all other states using HealthCare.gov for enrollment. About 800 navigators are available in Illinois to help consumers with the enrollment process. You can find a navigator in your area by entering your ZIP code on Get Covered Illinois or by calling 866-311-1119.
Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year.
Individuals who remain uninsured after March may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
Nearly 114,000 Illinois residents signed up for a private health plan between Oct. 1 and March 1 according to the March 11 enrollment report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Enrollment is up from about 88,500 at the end of January. An additional 131,995 people qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Illinois is at 99 percent of the federal government’s target for signups through five months of the initial open enrollment period.
Several insurers are participating in the Illinois marketplace: Aetna, Coventry, Health Alliance Medical Plans, Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross), Humana, and Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company. Get Covered Illinois, the website for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, provides information about the options available to individuals and small businesses. Illinois residents use HealthCare.gov to sign up for coverage.
Aides to Quinn announced in July 2012 that the Illinois marketplace would operate as a state-federal partnership in its first year. At the time of the announcement, Michael Gelder, the governor’s senior health-care policy adviser, said, “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.” The administration expressed hope that the state could assume sole responsibility for the exchange as soon as 2015.
However — despite Democratic control of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly and the governor’s office — Illinois has not passed legislation for a state-run health insurance marketplace. The state House adjourned in June 2013 without voting on a bill to authorize a state-run exchange. The state Senate passed such a bill earlier in the session. Advocates for a state-run exchange now fear it may be 2018 or later before the state takes over sole control of the exchange.
The Quinn administration seems determined to continue toward the state-run model. In July 2013, the state announced a $66.5 million contract with CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. The IT contractor will build a website when consumers can compare and purchase health insurance and is a fundamental component that state would need to operate its own exchange. To date, Illinois has received nearly $155 million in federal grants to develop an exchange.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1.9 million people in Illinois are uninsured. That’s about 16% of the state’s population.
Get Covered 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.
Let your Illinois governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.Illinois Governor Pat Quinn