Illinois Awarded More Than $5 Million to Establish Health Insurance Exchange

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      The Illinois Department

                      of Insurance (DOI) received $5.128 million in federal

                      funds to develop and maintain an Illinois-based

                      American Health Benefits Exchange (“Exchange”) -- a

                      transparent, centralized competitive health care

                      marketplace where individuals and small businesses

                      can purchase health insurance coverage.  The federal

                      grant funds, issued under the federal health reform

                      law known as the Affordable Care Act, will help lay

                      the foundation for Illinois lawmakers and other

                      stakeholders to create an Illinois Health Benefits

                      Exchange that best meets the needs of Illinois

                      families and businesses.

                        “Everyone in Illinois deserves access to quality,

                      affordable health care,” said Governor Quinn.

                      “Illinois must develop a strong health insurance

                      marketplace to ensure that our families and employers

                      – especially our small businesses – have appropriate

                      health care options and much-needed financial

                      security.  This federal grant will aid us in creating

                      a robust exchange, and developing the tools to make

                      it easy for everyone to use.”

                        The DOI is planning for an Illinois Health Benefits

                      Exchange that will include an easy-to-use website and

                      health plan comparison tool to empower individuals

                      and small businesses with more control, choice and

                      protection while shopping for and enrolling in health

                      insurance coverage that is tailored to their needs.

                        Specifically, the activities funded to achieve the

                      goals of the state’s exchange over the next year

                      include: 1) Complete the State’s efforts to conduct

                      comprehensive background research on the current

                      health insurance coverage marketplace, projections

                      for the future of health insurance coverage, and the

                      impact of establishing an health insurance

                      marketplace in Illinois; 2)  Design  the  information

                      infrastructure that will be required by businesses

                      and consumers of the exchange ; 3) Hire the necessary

                      staff to plan and coordinate with consultants to

                      create the initial design features of an Exchange in

                      Illinois; and 4) Educate the public on an Illinois

                      exchange and engage stakeholders in the design of

                      exchange operations.

                        “Illinois families and small businesses continue to

                      struggle with the affordability and availability of

                      health insurance coverage, and are still faced with

                      options that are neither competitive nor easy to

                      understand,” said DOI Acting Director Jack Messmore.

                      “This Department intends to continue to support the

                      establishment of a competitive marketplace to

                      purchase health coverage that better protects and

                      empowers consumers to make the right choice for them

                      and their families."

                        The State’s grant application, which outlines in

                      detail its proposal to consider and plan for the

                      establishment of a state-based health insurance

                      exchange in Illinois, can be viewed at:


                      More Information

                      The Department’s mission is to protect consumers by

                      providing assistance and information, by efficiently

                      regulating the insurance industry’s market behavior

                      and financial solvency, and by fostering a

                      competitive insurance marketplace. The Department

                      assists consumers with all insurance complaints,

                      including health, auto, life, and homeowner.

                      Consumers in need of information or assistance should

                      visit the Department’s Web site at

             or call its toll-free

                      hotline at (866) 445-5364.