Affordable Care Act

Illinois residents surprised by a tax penalty for being uninsured will get another chance to sign up for coverage.

A special enrollment period under President Barack Obama's health care law starts Sunday and runs through April 30th.

Officials say it's the last chance for those who do not have coverage to avoid paying an even bigger fine when they file their taxes next year. 

Deadline For Insurance Enrollment Approaching

Feb 9, 2015
WUIS

The deadline to enroll in the health care marketplace is Sunday, and counselors across the state are meeting with people to help sign them up. 

Loren Greer is a 63-year-old truck driver who was taken off his company's health coverage when he was forced into early retirement. He sought help from an in-person counselor so he can avoid paying a fee after the Feb. 15 deadline.

If it weren't for the threat of a $325 fee, Greer might not enroll.

state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers missed a Jan. 1 deadline to approve a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Without its own exchange, the state forfeits millions of federal dollars while leaving consumers vulnerable to paying more for insurance.

Illinois was facing dual deadlines last month when lawmakers made a final effort to create its own marketplace. The first was the looming New Year---which they blew past last week, losing out on as much as $270 million.

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More than 121,000 Illinoisans selected health plans during the first month of the sign-up period for Obamacare. 

    

The Department of Health and Human Services released the data Tuesday.

It indicates how enrollment is going within Illinois, where residents are relying on the federal HealthCare.gov website for the second year.

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Illinois may soon run its own healthcare marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. The General Assembly is working against a New Year's deadline to create its own exchange.  That, or risk losing millions of dollars from the federal government.  When the Affordable Care Act went into effect last year, Illinoisans began signing up for healthcare in a marketplace technically run by the federal government.

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The U.S. Supreme court agreed to take up a case that could put the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy. But Illinois health care advocates still urge residents to check out their options.

The Supreme Court expects to rule on whether federal subsidies can be given to residents in states, like Illinois, that did not create their own online marketplaces. In the meantime, subsidies to help cover the cost of insurance will still be available.

The open enrollment period for 2015 started over the weekend and will last until mid-December.

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Eleven state health centers will get about two million dollars in federal funding to support mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Health officials announced the funding through the Affordable Care Act Thursday. Health centers in Rockford, Chicago, Aurora, La Grange, and Rock Falls are receiving the funds.

The money will be used to hire professionals, and add mental and addiction health services.

Flickr user / Images Money "Healthcare Costs" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Department on Aging says seniors and disabled people can get free help enrolling in Medicare now through early December.

Agency Director John Holton says deciding on coverage options can be overwhelming. Counselors from the agency's Senior Health Insurance Program can help beneficiaries and caregivers understand their options.

Talk Radio News Service

It's been a year since the Affordable Care Act launched. The state says 685,000 people have taken advantage of the law --- more than expected.

That includes Keith Moons, who says his family lost insurance coverage in 2011 and weren't able to get it back because of unemployment and preexisting conditions.

State Farm / Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Blue Cross and Blue Shield and State Farm have partnered to offer individual health insurance policies.

In five states, including Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer health plans that State Farm clients can purchase. Some of those plans will be on Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges.

Open enrollment beings Nov. 15, with health coverage becoming effective Jan. 1, 2015.

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