Springfield - In passing HB3227 (formerly SB34) today, the Illinois Senate took a major step in establishing a state based health insurance marketplace that helps small businesses and individuals in Illinois.
State Senator David Koehler (D-46 Peoria), chief sponsor of SB34 (now contained in HB3227) commented after the vote, "I am pleased that a super majority of my colleagues in the Senate voted for Illinois to establish its own state health insurance marketplace. Expanding help and providing a voice for small businesses and individuals who will be utilizing the new Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace is the intention of the Affordable Care Act, and I am proud that the Illinois Senate has made that commitment."
Brigid Leahy, Director of Legislation at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said, "If we're running things at the state level, we can fix things, we can make them better, we have better control over making sure that it works for consumers. If it’s in the hands of the feds, we don’t have that power."
HB3227 establishes a pro-consumer and pro-small business health insurance marketplace in Illinois. The health insurance marketplace will be the one-stop insurance shop for more than a million Illinoisans.
Speaking on behalf of the Illinois Public Health Association, Tom Hughes said, "The diversity of this board will best represent the population of Illinois and protect consumers in the new marketplace."
HB3227 ensures that the marketplace is governed by a diverse board that represents women, small businesses, communities of color, labor, public health, people with disabilities, and consumers, and provides for accountability of the insurance industry selling plans on the new marketplace.
Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, said, "This historic vote by the Illinois Senate today shows the Senate's commitment to Illinois small businesses and individuals who will be eligible for the new Illinois health insurance marketplace. When fully implemented nearly 1.2 Illinoisans will be utilizing this marketplace. HB3227 will provide small businesses and consumers a direct voice in developing and implementation a State Based Marketplace that meets the needs of Illinoisans. Now it is up to the Illinois House to show their commitment and support to small businesses and individuals, and to President Obama's Affordable Care Act."
Careful Planning Now Will Bolster Successful Implementation of ObamaCare Next Year
The new program implements a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allows states to expand Medicaid programs to cover most low-income individuals. The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted Cook County permission to launch this program in October 2012. Previously, as many as 250,000 Cook County residents were excluded from Medicaid because they did not meet the program’s restrictive eligibility requirements, such as being totally disabled.
The federally-funded Ryan White Program provides HIV medical care, medications, and supportive services to low-income people with HIV. The program is a payer of last resort, meaning all other sources of payment must be accessed before Ryan White Program funds can be used to cover needed services for people with HIV/AIDS.
Hundreds of people with HIV might have to switch from their current health care provider to one that is in the CountyCare network. Federal requirements prevented Cook County from enrolling all Ryan White Program providers in CountyCare.
It is estimated that half of all Americans diagnosed with HIV do not receive regular medical care, making CountyCare an unprecedented opportunity to reverse this trend in Northeast Illinois. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which requires single, low-income adults to be disabled, CountyCare eligibility is based solely on lawful residency in Cook County and income level.
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