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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois 'Obamacare' Health Insurance Rates Up Significantly

"Electronic Stethescope" By Flickr User Ted Eytan / (CC BY 2.0)

Higher prices and fewer choices on the Illinois "Obamacare" marketplace will make choosing a health plan for 2017 a potentially frustrating experience for families who buy their own coverage.

The Illinois Department of Insurance released information Wednesday on rates it submitted to federal officials. Statewide, the average rate increase for a typical benchmark plan is 43 percent.

In eight counties, only Blue Cross Blue Shield will sell individual coverage.

Major insurers have left the Illinois exchange and Land of Lincoln Health is folding. Many parts of the state will have fewer than 20 plans to choose from.

In a statement, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner blamed "major structural flaws in the Affordable Care Act" for the higher rates. Rauner says Congress "must enact smarter policies that truly provide better choices for Illinois residents."

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