Affordable Care Act

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John Perryman is a pediatrician with Mercyhealth in Roscoe. He sees patients struggling to afford medications. Some families, he says, disappear for stretches of time when they fall off an insurance plan. On this week's Friday Forum, Jenna Dooley talks with Perryman about his view as well as from a major opponent of the idea.

 

WUIS

The federal government cut the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A health care group says that means more people have to spread the word about open enrollment. 

Claudia Lenhoff, executive director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers, said the federal government has cut the advertising budget for the ACA by 90 percent this year.

"That means across the country people won’t be seeing some kind of ads in different media," Lenhoff said.

Illinois Department of Insurance

Illinois residents shopping for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace for next year could see rate increases as high as 40 percent, under rate plans submitted through the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Illinois premium increases are, on average, lower in 2018 than 2017 for all levels, the department said in a news release.

Flickr user Michael Chen "Pills" (CC BY 2.0) bit.ly/1RgH2Na

Illinois consumers who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchange could see prices increase by as much as 43 percent next year.

The Chicago Tribune reports that several health insurance carriers proposed double-digit increases in rates released Thursday under what's often referred to as the “Obamacare'' exchange. Health Alliance Medical Plans, which offered coverage mostly in central and southern Illinois this year, is proposing rate increases of as much as 43 percent.

Opensource on Flickr

A new report says that repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would have a disproportionately negative effect in rural Illinois.

The paper, released by the Georgetown University Center For Children and Families,  says a greater percentage of people in rural areas relies on Medicaid than their urban counterparts.

Everthrive

Roughly one million Illinoisans gained insurance care through the Affordable Care Act.  That's had an impact on the way health care is delivered throughout the state. 

Nine years ago, Kris Hayden was undergoing cancer treatment and she felt guilty.

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

Rockford residents who are getting their health insurance through the Illinois exchange under the current Affordable Care Act will lose an estimated average of $3,662 in subsidies under the proposed replacement American Health Care Act.

That’s a drop of more than 42 percent.

Moreover, Rockford would be the hardest-hit by the changes – and residents in only two other Illinois cities would see their subsidies shrink.

Jenna Dooley

Healthcare leaders are voicing concerns about the Republican repeal plan to the Affordable Care Act.

Democrat Dick Durbin is traveling the state to meet with those who would be affected by the House changes.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner says Illinois wouldn’t do very well under congressional Republicans’ new health care proposal.

  

Some conservative groups have also criticized the House GOP's new plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Rauner says he plans to talk to members of Congress and other governors about how to change the proposal.

“I want to make sure people in Illinois are not left in the lurch or that there’s a lot of pressure to reduce insurance coverage for people in Illinois,” Rauner said.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said he doesn't support a repeal of Obamacare without a replacement.

It’s a rare comment from a governor who has stayed away from saying anything in public about national politics. But, as Republicans in Congress debate the issue with President-Elect Donald Trump, Rauner says he doesn’t support a simple repeal.

“I don’t think it works very well to just take it away and have nothing to replace it with," he said. "I don’t think that works.”

The Illinois Hospital Association says there could be significant fiscal and human consequences if Obamacare is repealed and there's no replacement plan.  

President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans made repealing the Affordable Care Act a key plank in their campaigns. IHA President A.J. Wilhelmi says that could be an expensive proposition.  

"Hospitals faced with cuts have tough decisions to make, and those decisions include laying off staff, reducing services, and putting projects on hold for infrastructure improvement."

"stethoscope" by flickr use rosmary (CC BY 2.0)

Officials say more than 68,000 Illinoisans have selected health plans using the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace, up nearly 1,400 compared to the same time last year.

      

The sign-ups are happening as President-elect Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress discuss repealing the law known as "Obamacare.'' It's unclear what might replace the law if they do repeal it.

Meanwhile, open enrollment for HealthCare.gov began Nov. 1 and continues through Jan. 31. People must enroll by Dec. 15 if they want their coverage to start Jan. 1.

Aetna / @aetnahelp, twitter.com

Aetna is leaving the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange in Illinois for 2017. That further reduces competition in the state.

Aetna's announcement late Monday leaves six companies selling plans for next year to individuals and families on the Illinois ACA marketplace. Illinois Department of Insurance spokesman Michael Batkins says two insurers remain selling plans to small businesses. 

The announcement follows UnitedHealthcare's departure from the Illinois exchange. And Chicago-based Land of Lincoln Health is folding after suffering heavy losses. 

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

More than half of the states have disclosed how much higher their health care premiums could be next year under the Affordable Care Act, but Illinois isn't expected to do so for more than a month.

The Chicago Tribune reports that consumer advocates are frustrated because Illinois residents won't get their first look at proposed 2017 premiums until Aug. 1, about a month before the state Department of Insurance has to complete its review of rate information.

WUIS

The rate of Illinois residents with health insurance continues to grow.

In 2013, nearly 18 percent of Illinois adults didn’t have insurance.

The next year, the Affordable Care Act took effect. The rate of uninsured dropped to 15 percent that year.

Last year, it continued to fall.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control puts the figure at more than 10 percent. That insurance comes from Obamacare for many Illinoisans.

hhs.gov

It’s time to sign up or pay up. The deadline for getting an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act is Sunday. 

You either have health insurance Monday or face fines -- big fines, starting at $695. Kathleen Falk is the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She says there are a lot of reasons people haven’t registered yet, including still not being convinced they can finally get an insurance company to cover them.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Time is running out for people who haven’t signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act

OLIVER WYMAN

Insurance prices in northern Illinois are spiking by more than 20 percent on the marketplace that's a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act.

The Illinois Department of Insurance released today a detailed look at health insurance prices for 2016.  18 counties in northern Illinois* are seeing price increases (for the cost of a mid-range Silver Plan policy) of more than 20 percent - in some cases close to 30 percent.

In the state, only Chicago/Cook County saw decreases.

Wheaton College will stop providing any health insurance for students to avoid complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. The move announced earlier this month takes effect Friday. It affects about 700 students, a quarter of the college’s student population.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, KFF State Health

Following Thursday's ruling  from the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois residents who bought health insurance under the Affordable Care Act -- also known as "Obamacare" -- will get to keep tax credits that cut the cost of their plans. 

The question before the court was whether federal subsidies could be given out in states, including Illinois, that did not build their own online marketplaces. 

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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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