Illinois takes another step toward health exchange

November 15, 2012

The Supreme Court has long-since upheld the Affordable Care Act. And with President Obama’s reelection, the Act is going ahead as planned.

Even so, Washington just extended its deadline for state officials to indicate their intent to develop their own health care exchange.

But Illinois has been ahead of that curve - that letter went out in October.

Friday, Illinois plans to turn over a blueprint to the federal government.

That will basically lay out logistics of how the state intends to implement the Affordable Care Act, said Michael Gelder, Gov. Pat Quinn’s Senior Health Policy Adviser.

“It describes the fact that we will be offering a partnership with the federal government effort where the federal government operates the exchange itself,” Gelder explained Thursday after a meeting of the Health Care Reform Implementation Council.

The exchange, which will be run by the federal government in 2014, is an electronic marketplace to buy insurance. Gelder describes one example of how he saw it work recently in Massachusetts.

“An individual knowing her zip code, whether she was a smoker or not, and what sort of health insurance she was interested in could actually go through the options available to her and select the one she could afford and be enrolled with insurance in 20 minutes,” he said.

In a letter to the federal government, Gov. Quinn said he sees the 2014 federal partnership as a “bridge” to the state running its own exchange.

“While we will be working with you over the next year to ensure the people of Illinois have comprehensive and affordable coverage through the Exchange, I’m committed to working with our Illinois General Assembly to pass legislation with governance and financing language that will allow us to operate a state-based Exchange beginning in 2015,” Quinn wrote.

Expect that to be tackled in Springfield this coming spring.