Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that Illinois has been conditionally approved to operate a State Partnership Marketplace, which will be ready for open enrollment in October 2013. This federal approval of the partnership, which was announced in a joint appearance at the Erie Health Center in Chicago, will allow Illinois to select health insurance carriers and tailor the marketplace to local needs and market conditions.
Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to increase access to decent healthcare and ensure Illinois reaps the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
"Here in the home state of President Barack Obama, we are forging ahead to make the promise of the Affordable Care Act a reality," Governor Quinn said. "Access to decent healthcare is a fundamental right. Hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois will gain quality health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. They will also gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the care will be there if they need it. We are going to be working very hard between now and October 1 to educate the people of our state about the health care coverage options they will have through the marketplace, thanks to President Obama's leadership."
"I applaud Illinois' work to build a new health insurance marketplace," Secretary Sebelius said. "Illinois has made significant progress, and will be ready in eight months for open enrollment when Illinoisans will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans."
A key feature of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace will be accessed through a robust, user-friendly website where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage. Individuals and families with income between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the marketplace. Illinois officials estimate that 500,000 people will secure coverage through the marketplace in the first year of operation, and up to one million people will be covered by 2016.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, as of January 2014, consumers and small businesses will have access to a new marketplace that will deliver access to quality, affordable private health insurance coverage. These comprehensive health plans will provide consumers with the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress, and ensure they are not denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Consumers in every state will be able to buy insurance from qualified health plans directly through these marketplaces, and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their health insurance.
For more information on the new health insurance marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov/exchanges.