Illinois Insurance ExchangeFewer Insurers on Illinois Insurance Exchange May Mean Higher Premiums

Although six health insurance companies will be offering multiple health plans on the Illinois insurance exchange beginning October 1, that number is significantly lower than the 16 plans that was originally estimated, raising concerns that less competition on the Illinois health insurance marketplace could mean higher premiums for residents.

Here is the official press release on this.

Insurers Wary of Higher Medical Costs

Insurance companies are holding back from entering state insurance exchanges because they are worried that only sick people will enroll in plans, at least at first. Healthy customers, who do not need coverage right away, may wait to see how the program unfolds before purchasing policies. This in turn could cause insurance companies to pay out more in claims that they take in from premiums.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Leads Pack

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, which is operated by Health Care Service Corp, a Chicago-based company, is the state’s largest insurance company and has submitted 35 plans for sales approval on the Illinois insurance exchange. The state department of insurance will evaluate the plans by July 31 and will send them on for federal approval. The Department of Health and Human Services has until August 31 to determine whether or not these plans will be certified as qualified health plans and can be offered as options on the Illinois health insurance marketplace. All plans must offer required essential benefits as mandated by ObamaCare.

Land of Lincoln Health Tosses Hat in Ring

One main goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to drive down premiums by forcing health insurance companies to compete for business on state exchanges. While the lower number of plan applications in Illinois is an indication that insurers are scared to plunge into health care reform, there is one factor that will raise the competition level on the Illinois insurance exchange. Land of Lincoln Health, a non-profit Consumer Operated and Orientated Pan (co-op), received a $160 million federal loan to offer plans in Illinois. The addition of this plan may keep premiums lower.

Nearly 1 Million Illinois Residents Eligible

When the new federal tax credits go into effect, nearly one million Illinois residents will become eligible for assistance to help pay for health insurance through the Illinois insurance exchange. Only 486,000 of that million are expected to actually participate in the program in 2013. The state anticipates that more residents will sign up each year, with 1.3 million residents on board by 2017.

Many Residents Uninformed About Health Care Reform

A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family indicated that approximately 60 percent of Americans do not know enough about the ACA and the impact it is going to have on their health insurance choices. Illinois is no exception. For this reason, the state of Illinois is preparing an advertising blitz aimed to educate residents through radio and television ads and billboards.

The federal government has given Illinois nearly $28 million in grants to spend on outreach programs designed to assist residents with enrollment and insurance counseling. The In-Person Counselor Program will provide trained and certified counselors who will be able to assist residents in person, over the telephone or online in choosing a plan on the Illinois insurance exchange and enrolling in the plan they select.

See this to find out what ObamaCare Exchange Navigator program is and learn more about ObamaCare Medicaid expansion here.

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