NPR Story
4:44 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Illinois Still Waiting On Key Obamacare Approval

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:29 pm

The price of insurance policies that will be offered under the federal health care overhaul remain a mystery, even to state officials.

Oct. 1 will be a big day across the country for President Barack Obama's signature health care law. It's the launch date for insurance marketplaces, the Affordable Care Act's term for where people without insurance will be able to shop for coverage.

Six insurance companies have proposed 165 separate policies, all of which Illinois submitted to the federal government for review. That was done by August. But the state is still waiting for approval.

"That's a process that is ongoing. We have been told it will be completed by Oct. 1, if not before," says Mike Claffey is a spokesman for Illinois' insurance marketplace.

Claffey says there will be plenty of information when the marketplace opens. He says Oct. 1 may be opening day, but the enrollment period goes until Dec. 15.

"We certainly think people will have plenty of time to sort through the options that they will have, and to reach a decision on which coverage is best for their family," he says.

Still, the delay means that counselors already trained to help people navigate the marketplace will need follow-up training, and small businesses and families that plan to shop on the marketplace say they're frustrated with the lack of information.

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