Health Insurance in Illinois
The Illinois Health Marketplace
Illinois runs a partnership exchange with the federal government. That means the state runs Get Covered Illinois – which offers a website, in-person assistance, and a help desk – while Illinois residents enroll or make plan changes through HealthCare.gov.
Open enrollment for 2020 health plans is over, although residents with qualifying events can enroll or make changes to their coverage for 2020. The next open enrollment period, for health insurance effective in 2021, will begin November 1, 2020.
Illinois Enrollment in Qualified Health Plans
294,263 persons enrolled in qualified health plans (QHPs) through the Illinois exchange during the open enrollment period for 2020 coverage. As is the case in most states that use HealthCare.gov, enrollment peaked in Illinois in 2016, when 388,179 people enrolled.
Enrollment has declined every year since then, because of many factors, including reduced federal funding for exchange marketing and outreach, higher premiums for individuals who don’t get subsidies, the abolition of the ACA’s mandate penalty, and the expansion of short-term health plans as an alternative to ACA-compliant plans.
Medicaid and CHIP in Illinois
Medicaid expansion in Illinois was approved in 2013 and went into effect in 2014. Consequently, about 350,000 new enrollees were accepted in just the first several months. A year later, in 2015, total enrollments under Medicaid expansion in Illinois had reached 623,000. By August 2016, the total had surpassed 646,000, although it had dropped to just over 600,000 by mid-2018.
As of September 2019, 2.8 million inhabitants of Illinois were covered by Medicaid/CHIP. That was 7 percent higher than the enrollment total in late 2013, but it was down from 2.95 million in mid-2018.
How Obamacare Is Assisting Illinois Residents
Illinois has had relative achievement under the Affordable Care Act. Its uninsured rates have been almost cut in half as more residents access coverage via subsidized private plans on the state’s exchange, and more than 600,000 persons are covered under expanded Medicaid.
12.7 percent of the residents were uninsured in 2013, according to U.S. Census data, and that had fallen to 6.5 percent by 2016 because of the ACA. At that point, the state average uninsured rate was 8.6 percent. By 2018, the state’s uninsured rate had crept back up to 7 percent, mirroring a countrywide uptick in the uninsured rate under the Trump administration.
Other ACA Reform Provisions
The Affordable Care Act designed a federal loan program, known as the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program. The program is intended to increase consumer choice and expand competition by enabling new nonprofit health insurers to enter the market.
In Illinois, Land of Lincoln Health received over $160 million in grant funds. But like most of the CO-OPs, Land of Lincoln struggled financially, and it ended operations September 30, 2016. As of early 2020, only four ACA-created CO-OPs remained in service, out of 23 that began offering coverage in the fall of 2013.
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