Illinois has until November to set up a state-run health insurance exchange, but lawmakers may have to act more quickly. Jim Duffett, executive director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, says with the approval process Illinois would have to go through before opening its own marketplace, legislators would have to pass a bill authorizing it by the end of May.
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The state could set up an exchange in the future, but Duffett says that means missing out on federal assistance. “Illinois could go ahead and do it, but they lose all the federal dollars coming into the state, such as half a billion dollars to pay for it, so (it) would have to be general revenue,” Duffett said, “which I think we all know that the state of Illinois doesn’t have any money to be able for pay for this.”
Illinois is one of a few states with a partnership model with the federal exchange, which allowed the state access to $154 million in grants. Most of that was spent on advertising and outreach through the state’s Get Covered Illinois site. A bill authorizing a state-run exchange passed in the Senate last year, but was never voted on in the House.