During a visit with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to the Erie Health Center in Chicago on Feb.13, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that Illinois has been conditionally approved to operate a State Partnership Marketplace (Exchange), which will be ready for open enrollment in October 2013. This partnership will allow Illinois to make key decisions and tailor the marketplace to local needs and market conditions.
“I applaud efforts by Illinois to build a new health insurance marketplace,” Secretary Sebelius said in a statement. “Working together, we will be ready in eight months when residents of Illinois will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans.”
With today’s conditional approval of Illinois, 20 states and the District of Columbia have been conditionally approved to partially or fully run a marketplace, with the remaining states having until Feb. 15 to apply for a State Partnership Marketplace.
“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 in a statement. “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 1st to educate the people of our state about the healthcare coverage options they will have through the Marketplace, thanks to President Obama's leadership.”
Because of the Affordable Care Act, consumers and small businesses will, beginning next January, have access to a new marketplace, where they can access quality, affordable private health plans. These comprehensive health plans will ensure consumers have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress, and will not be able to be 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 and cost sharing assistance to help pay for their health insurance and out of pocket costs.